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Formerly Medical Inspector of the Army of Northern Virginia; more recently Sur- 

geon-in- Chief of the War Department of Egypt; Prof essor Emeritus College 

of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, Md.; Clievalier 

of tTie Legion of Honor of France; Commander 

of the Order of tlte Osmanieh of 

Turkey, <&c., <&c., dc. 




CusHiNGS & Bailey, Publishers. 


/.Tt. Jd 

^6 7 

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1885 by John Mokeis, M. D., 
in the office of the Librarian of Congress. 




My father — His services in the Confederate army — His po- 
litical opinions — His grief over the supposed death of a son 
— The wounding of his son at Gettysburg — Meeting of two 
brothers — My father's character and characteristics — His 
death — Dreams — Spiritualism — Religion. 



8elf-made men — Pride of blood and its effect upon character — 
The Innes family — My grandmother — Virginia hospitality 
— A temperance"^ hotel — My mother — Her character — My 
birthplace — Edenton. 



School — Death of my dog from grief— The treed Pasha — Visit 
to Washington and meeting with Mr. Tyler — His dispute 
with the Whig party — Webster's tidelity — The Princeton — 
Bursting of her great gun — Mr. Tyler's luck — Miss Gardner 
— First night atschool and the fight and friendship which 
grew out of it — Dr. George A. Otis — Fighting as a peace 


EARLY DAYS, (Continued.) 

Fire-eaters of ante-heUum times — Cowards — Dueling — A church 
school and its overdose of religion — The morbid but credu- 
lous seminarian — A. night at the seminary — The good luck 
it brought me — Mistaken vocations — The great (?) professor 
— "S'anity — Ingratitude. 




The Johnstone family — -Mr. James C. Johnstone — The Rector 
— His character and his death — His second daughter, Eliza- 
beth Cotton, becomes my wife — We visit Virginia and New 
York — Mr. Johnstone presents me with Albania and a 
number of negroes. 



Mr. James C. Johnstone's change of sentiments toward his 
family — His insanity — His unnatural will — His heirs con- 
test — Memorable trial — Adverse verdict and ruin of the 
family — Old Edenton after the war — The treason of the 
" Colonel " — Incidents of his life. 



Birth of a daughter — The John Brown raid — Command a 
military company — Mitchell, the bear hunter — Visit to A'ir- 
ginia Springs and meeting with Mr. Johnstone — Joseph M. 
Levy — Go to Baltimore as a professor. 



Experiences as a teacher — First failure, then success — Profes- 
sional and social experiences — The attack of 19th of April 
— Death of Mr. Davis — My own narrow escape — Davis' 



Excitement in Baltimore — A memorable Sunday — ]Made chief 
surgeon of the municipal forces — Sent on a mission — Ben. 
Butler at the Relay House — Ashby — Charles Winder — John 
W^inder — Prisoners of war — Richmond and its state of excite- 
ment — Governor Letcher — Governor Ellis — Success of mis- 
sion — Communications from University of Maryland — Sur- 
geon-general of North Carolina navy — Hatteras and its 




Eevisit Richmond — Appointed surgeon in Confederate army 
— Ordered to the hospital at the University of Virginia — 
State of the wounded — Condition of the army — The medical 
department — An operation at the hip-joint — Bravery of 
the w^ounded — Professor Venable — Professor Coleman — Dr. 
Lewis Coleman — Dr. Fairfax — Dr. Moon — Mr. Wirtenbaker 
—Dr. John Staige Davis— Dr. J. L. Cabell— Prof. J. B. 


WAR EXPERIENCES, (Continued.) 

Ordered to Richmond and placed on board of examination 
and inspection — Pleasant duties and agreeable colleagues; — 
Society — Devotion of Southern women — Ordered to North 
Carolina— Examination of surgeons — A morbid chairman 
— Battle of New Berne — Flight and panic — Made Medical 
Director of department of Cape Fear — Visit to Richmond 
— Dr. L. Guild — Mechanicsville— General Lee — Appointed 
Medical Director, but decline — Made Medical Inspector — 
The morning after the fight — Malvern Hill — Laurel Grove 
and its associations — Return to North Carolina — Write a 
manual of military surgery. 



Hon. Z. B. Vance elected Governor of North Carolina — Ap- 
pointed Surgeon-General of the State — Dr. T. J. Boykin — 
Work done for the soldiers — An epidemic of small-pox 
stamped out — Pleasant relations with the governor — His 
fine character and loyal conduct — His visit to the Army of 
Northern Virginia — North Carolina's contribution to the 
war — Fort Fisher and its fall. 



Narrow escape from death and capture — Arrival at Golds- 
borough — Preparation for serious work — General G. W. 
Smith takes command and appoints me Medical Director — 
Retreat of Foster — Colonel Moses and Governor Vance's 
dispatch — Governor Vance's kindness to prisoners of war 
at Salisbury — A train of wounded soldiers. 




Governor Vance's distress at Lee's surrender — His efforts to 
preserve Raleigh — His commission to General Sherman — 
Exciting adventures — Return to Raleigh — The dejDOt in 
flames — Kilpatrick baffled — His life attempted by maraud- 
ers — Their fate. 



Kind reception by Colonel Baylor — Generals Blair and Sco- 
field as Union constructors — General Sherman's conserva- 
tism in North Carolina — He keeps faith with the State com- 
missioners — Embarrassed by Lincoln's death and Johnson's 
accession — His grand review — Return home — Contrabands 
— Edenton after the war. 



Return to Baltimore — Changes — The wolf at the door — Four 
friends come to the rescue — The Levy will case — A favor- 
able verdict and a reduced legacy — Sunshine again — New 
medical schools, and a bitter controversy — A memento of 
the war — Medico-legal cases — The friendless Confederate 
— The condemned negress. 



The AVharton case — Interview with Mr. Thomas — Argument 
submitted to him — Mr. Steele — The trial at Annapolis — 
Cross-questioned by Mr. Syester — A bombshell in com-t. 


THE WHARTON CASE, (Continued.) 

A battery turned — A witness stumbles — Attacked in the rear 
— Letters from Alfred Swain Taylor and Thomas Stevenson 
supporting ni}?^ position — Victorious at Annai^olis, but ruined 
in Baltimore— The potency of popular prejudice — Sympathy 
of the American Medical Association — Fidelity — Grief for 
my boy. 




Seek a professorship elsewhere — Letters from Doctors Gross 
and McGuff^' — Enter the service of the Khedive — Given 
a dinner at Barnum's — William joins me at Jersey City — 
Some account of William Hughes, my faithful servant — 
Hats versus tarbouches — Ophthalmia and flies — Acquisition 
of foreign languages — Fishing for a compliment and catch- 
ing a Tartar. 



Sail from New York in the Abyssinia — My illness and Will- 
iam's adventure at Liverpool — Sir James Paget — Paris in 
mourning — To Brindisi under difficulties — Alexandria and 
Gabara — Cairo in a khampseen — Egypt — Its religion and 
customs — The Copts — Achmet Fahmy, the dragoman — His 
conversion — Loss of our baby — Amoonah, his nurse — Her 
fidelity and devotion — An attack of ophthalmia. 



Hareems — Mothers — Divorces — The captain's dilemma — Mus- 
tahalls and their vocation — A demonstrative patient — The 
penalty of seeing a woman's uncovered face — A bey's in- 
trigue and its results — Domestic life. 



Tewfick Pasha, the present Khedive — Ismail Pasha, the late 
Khedive — His services — His return necessary and inevitable 
— General Loring's hospitality — A summer at Gabara — Gen- 
eral Sibley — Colonel Jenifer— The Reynolds, father and son 
— Major Campbell — A pilfering comrade — My first patient 
— My successful treatment of the Minister of War — His 




An insane patient — Popular ideas respecting lunatics and 
idiots — Amein Pasha and his medical bill — Promotion — 
Examining recruits — Furloughed soldiers and veterans — 
The gratitude of the latter — Attempts at bribery — The 
Prince's perplexity — Forewarned of a plot for my destruc- 
tion — Narrow escape — Dr. Abbate-Bey — Dr. J. J. Crane. 



A six months' "leave" — A rival surgeon-general and his vic- 
tims — The snake charmers — Start for Paris — English gen- 
tlemen — General Mott — Doctor Landolt — Return to Eg\'pt 
prohibited — Made a Licentiate of the University of France 
— Honorably discharged from the Eg^qDtian army — A bless- 
ing in disguise — Eunuchs — ]My first patient in Paris — Made 
" Knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic." 



The evening visitor — Nature's nobleman — The sympathetic 
friend — A typhoid case — The daily narcotic — The startling 
discovery — Adroit robbery — "Help me, Doctor" — A dis- 
gusted banker — The prompt arrest — Mazas — Release and 
restitution — An amazed convalescent. 


LIFE IN PARIS, (Continued.) 

Distinguished patients — Hon. Thomas A. Hendricks — His 
a]Dpearance and character — General Grant — Estimate of his 
character — His devotion to his friends — General Torbert — : 
His character and fate — Judge Noah Davis — Judge John 
E. Brady — Hon. S. Teakle Wallis — Lady "Anna Gore-Lang- 
ton — Visit to London — English mode of j)aying medical 
bills — Dignity of French physicians — Medical fees — Injus- 
tice to physicians — Advice to patients. 



LIFE IN PAEI8, (Continued.) 

Professional success — Calumnies — Libelous newspaper clip- 
pings — Defamation in France — Secret denunciations, &c. — 
Police espionage — Scandal agencies — Hotel leeches — The 
Exposition of 1878 — Great sorrow — The Cross of the Legion 
of Honor — Other decorations — The degree of LL. D. — De- 
votion to North Carolina — Love of native land — America 
as contrasted with other countries. 


Responding to the persuasions of partial friends 
and loving children, I have written a history of my 
life, and now present it to the world in the form of 
this series of familiar letters. 

I have been prompted to the venture neither by 
an idle vanity nor a vaunting egotism, but mainly 
by the conviction that, in experiences so unique 
and yet so diversified as mine have been, there 
must necessarily be embodied much that is calcu- 
lated to impress, interest and instruct both the 
medical profession and the general public. 

At the same time a sense of justice to myself and 
to others constrains the confession, that a desire ta 
elaborate and perpetuate the record of my strangely 
eventful life has constituted no insignificant factor 
in the motives which have influenced the perform- 
ance of this task. I know that to the hypercritical 
this will seem only a phase of the selfish considera- 
tions which I have disclaimed in the premises ; but, 
unmindful of their censure, I shall trust to the 
more generous to interpret it properly — to at- 
tribute it to the suggestions of that honest pride 
and honorable ambition which the peculiar circum- 
stances of the case have served to develop and to 

The title selected for the book is suggestive alike 
of its character and its scope, since it recounts the 
history of a career in which the domination of a 
strange but imperious destiny has manifested itself 
in the transformation of a country doctor into a 


Professor, a Surgeon-General and a Chevalier of the 
Legion of Honor, and the transference of the scene 
of his labors from the swamps of Carolina to the 
shores of the Chesapeake, the borders of the Nile 
and the quartiers of the Seine. 

I have selected the espistolary method of com- 
munication with my readers, because it is that 
form of communication with which I am most fa- 
miliar, while it admits of a freedom of style and a 
latitude of narration which seem best suited to an 

T dedicate this work to my honored colleague. 
Doctor John Morris, for the reason that, as ray 
mind reverts to the scenes of the past, he looms 
up most conspicuously as the friend of their shade 
and their sunshine, and it is to him that my heart 
instinctively offers the amplest tribute of its love 
and gratitude. 

Paris, June 1, 1885. 






My Dear Doctor : 

When you met my father in Baltimore just after 
the war, yon saw in him the ruins of a remarkable 
man. He was then only sixty-five years of age, 
and up to the beginning of the conflict he had 
been unusually vigorous. But the four years of 
exile from home, of anxiety on account of his 
sons — all of whom were in the Southern army — 
and of unremitting attention to the sick and 
wounded under his charge, together with the total 
loss of his property and the utter ruin of his sec- 
tion, broke him' down completely. Although an 
^'old-line Whig," and originally opposed to se- 
cession, when the issue was definitely made between 
the North and the South, and the sacred soil of 
Virginia — his " Mother State " and the object of 
his supreme devotion — was actually invaded, he 
never hesitated a moment ; but, abandoning his 
business, his property, and his home, he joined his 
fortunes with those of the Confederacy, and ac- 
cepted a surgeon's commission in its service. He 
did his duty faithfully, but he came out of the con- 

16 A doctor's experiences 

flict shattered in body, prostrated in spirit, and in- 
capable of any serious exertion. 

Nothing contributed more to this result than the 
wounding and the supposed death of one of his boys. 
Crittenden^ his fourth son, who was at that time 
oiily eighteen years of age, and a lieutenant in the 
^' flag company " of the Fifty-second North Caro- 
lina Regiment — a position to which he had been 
elevated from the ranks for conspicuous bravery — 
was in the final and fatal charge at Gettysburg. 

Two days after that fearful battle my father re- 
ceived a letter from one of the survivors of his 
son's company to the effect that he saw '^ Lieuten- 
ant Warren killed, with the colors of the regiment 
in his hands, within a few yards of the enemy's 
works ;" and in a short time other letters arrived 
from officers of the regiment, confirming this state- 
ment in the most positive manner. As he was a 
noble boy, this intelligence utterly prostrated his 
parents, and they abandoned themselves to grief. 
About four weeks afterward a letter arrived by 
flag of truce from a comrade, saying "Lieutenant 
Warren was not killed outright, but was mortally 
wounded, and is now dying in one of the Federal 
hospitals at Gettysburg." This communication 
brought no consolation with it, although it did in- 
spire some faint hope — just enough to torture the 
aching hearts of those who loved him. Then came 
an additional source of anxiety. Another son was 


Dr. Llewellyn P. Warren, senior surgeon of Pet- 
tigrew's Brigade, had been left with the wounded 
of his command, and nothing had since been heard 
of him. In vain did we try by all possible means 
to obtain some information respecting the fate of 
our loved ones ; and you can well understand how 
dreadful was this state of suspense and anxiety to 


US all, but especially to our father and mother. 
Days which seemed like 3^ears, weeks that appeared 
to have no ending, passed away, and when hope 
had died, and despair had set its seal upon the 
hearts of the weary watchers, like light from 
heaven, a letter came from one of Baltimore's fair- 
•est daughters — sent surreptitiously through the 
lines — conveying the joyful intelligence that Llew. 
had accidentally discovered his wounded brother, 
-and with loving care had snatched him from the 
jaws of death ; that Crittenden was slowlj^ but 
surely recovering ; and that both had been trans- 
ferred to Fort McHenry, where friends were min- 
istering to their comfort in every way that sym- 
pathy could suggest. 1 need scarcely tell you of 
the prayers of gratitude which were offered up, 
and of the joy which reigned in my father's heart 
•and house on that occasion ; for it was as if the 
very portals of the grave had been opened, and 
the dead had arisen and come forth "to walk 
with living men again." My brothers were ex- 
changed after many months of captivity, and 
:an examination of Crittenden's wounds revealed 
the fact that five conical balls had entered his 
body, one of which had passed entirely through 
the upper lobe of the right lung. According 
to his account, when within a short distance of 
the enemy's line, he seized the colors from the 
hands of a dying sergeant, and with his first 
step forward received what seemed to him a fear- 
ful blow in the breast, and he fell senseless to 
the ground. He knew nothing more until he 
was aroused by the rough shake of a Federal 
soldier, who, seeing that life was not extinct, gave 
him a drink of water, placed his cap under his 
head as a pillow, and muttering, " Poor boy, this 
is the last of you," went forward to his duty. He 

18 A doctor's experiences 

then lapsed into a state of unconsciousness, which 
finally passed into a dream of -the charge so vivid 
and real that it seemed that he was for hour^ 
storming the enemy's line with balls whistling 
and shells bursting and comrades falling around 
him, while his chest felt as if it were encircled with 
an iron band which interfered with respiration and 
almost deprived him of the power of speech. 
When he came to himself again it was in the 
early morning, and a group of surgeons were 
standing about him while one was examining his 
wounds, who, seeing that he had regained con- 
sciousness, asked his name, told him to prepare for 
death as his wounds were mortal, and said to him : 
"'I know your brother by reputation, and if you 
have any last message to send to your family tell 
it to me, and I will have it delivered in time. My 
heart bleeds for you and yours, my poor boy. " ' ' Say 
to them at home," gasped the dear fellow, "that 
I tried to do my duty, and tell my mother " — here 
he lost consciousness again, and was unable to 
complete the sentence. Although the surgeons re- 
garded the case as desperate, they did not leave 
him to die alone in the grass where he had fallen, but 
they had him carefully lifted into an ambulance and 
transported to the nearest field-hospital, where he 
was placed under a shelter hastily improvised of 
fence-rails, and given food, stimulants, and an 
opiate — the jolting of the vehicle over the newly- 
ploughed field having restored him to conscious- 
ness, and caused him the most intense suffering. 
During the night a new j^eril presented itself: the 
stream which ran through the hospital suddenly 
swelled beyond its borders, and with resistless 
impetus swept a large number of the wounded to 
destruction. He, fortunately, was just beyond the 
invaded area and was saved, while one of his own 


men — a poor lad reared near my plantation in 
North Carolina — who lay wounded and helpless by 
his side, was swept away by the flood. As he did 
not die, he was removed after a few days to a divi- 
sion hospital, which was well constructed and 
abundantly supplied. Here he was allowed two 
slightly wounded men from his own company as 
nurses, supplied liberally with nutritious soup and 
good bread, and given a dose of morphia every 
night at bed time ; but his \vounds were not dressed, 
and his bloody and matted clothing was never 
changed until he was discovered and taken charge 
of by my brother, Dr. L. P. Warren, more than two 
weeks after the battle. There was no intentional 
inhumanity in this, for in every other respect he 
was kindly treated, but it resulted simply from the 
fact, that when brought from the field he was 
placed on the list of the ''mortally wounded," and 
as surgeons were scarce and wounded men abund- 
ant, he was left to die in peace without the addi- 
tional pang of a surgical dressing. This view 
of the case proved ''a blessing in disguise" — was 
a circumstance so fortunate in itself and in its 
consequences as to bear the aspect of a special dis- 
pensation — for the lung wound, consequently, 
sealed itself hermetically, while the non-interven- 
tion of the doctors perpetuated that condition of 
quiescence which was most favorable to its cicatriza- 

My brother, Dr. L. P. Warren, tells me, that 
after he had given his services to all of the wounded 
who had been left in his charge, he obtained per- 
mission to visit the Federal hospitals, hoping to 
find something to do in the way of rendering as- 
sistance to such of the Southern wounded as might, 
perchance, have been received in them. He had 
heard, too, of the death of his brother, but there 

20 A doctor's experiences 

still lingered in his bosom a hope of finding him 
alive, and of being the instrument of his rescue and 

He was making his final visit, and had passed 
the last ward, when he suddenly heard his name 
called and saw, running toward him, two soldiers 
whom he recognized as having belonged to the 52d 
North Carolina Regiment. In a moment they had 
embraced him, and were dragging him toward a 
little hut near by, crying out : "The Lieutenant 
is not quite dead. Come, for God's sake, and save 
him." Upon entering the pavilion he saw u])on 
a rude couch the form of fi human being, attenu- 
ated, wan, with sunken cheeks and lusterless eyes, 
apparently in the throes of death, which he recog- 
nized to be that of his brother, so long lost and so 
deeply mourned — the dear boy over whom a stricken 
household far away in the South was shedding its 
bitterest tears, and, like Rachel of old, refusing to 
be comforted. 

Imagine, my dear Doctor, if you can, what were 
the feelings of these two brothers when they thus 
met in that distant land, remote from friends and 
kindred, the one supposing that the clods already 
covered the remains of him he loved so well, and 
the other believing that he would never behold the 
face or hear the voice of any one from home again. 
Surely a scene more touching than this was never 
witnessed by mortal man, and the rough soldiers 
around them bowed their heads in silent awe, and 
wept like children. 

After many weary days of anxiety and watching, 
Llewellyn had the gratification of seeing the 
wounds heal kindly, the wasted frame grow com-, 
paratively strong, and the blanched cheek lose its 
pallor and glow with the hues of health again. In a 
word, the boy's life was saved ; and though for 


years be felt the effects of his wounds, he is now a 
healthy and vigorous man — as splendid a specimen 
of physical development as can be found in the 
South . 

This incident with its alternations of despair and 
hope, its vicissitudes of sorrow and satisfaction , 
though crowned in the end with all that could be 
conceived of happiness, proved too great a strain 
upon my father's nerves, and initiated the under- 
mining of his once vigorous system. It was not 
long afterward that I noticed an occasional inter- 
mittencein his pulse, and a pronounced development 
of the arcus senilis, while a condition of despond- 
ency became the fixed habit of his mind, and several 
severe attacks of malarial fever ensued, which still 
further exhausted his vitality. 

I wish you could have seen him in his prime — 
in the full swing of his powers, and the flood tide 
of his success. As you did not have that pleasure^ 
and as the contemplation of his gifts and virtues is 
always a source of satisfaction to me, you w^ll 
pardon, 1 feel assured, a brief sketch of him here — 
you will permit me to reproduce upon these pages 
the outlines, at least, of the picture which an ardent 
love, conjoined with the most profound respect, 
has painted upon the tablets of my memory. 

His father, Edward Warren, for whom I was 
named, was a lawyer of distinction and a gentle- 
man of the highest standing. He was regarded, 
in fact, as the leader of the bar in his section of 
Virginia, and he several times represented Charles 
City County in the Legislature of Virginia, having 
been elected by the unanimous vote of his constitu- 
ency — which, in that land of politics and partisans, 
was a very high compliment. He unfortunately 
died young, leaving to his wife the task of rearing 
and educating his four children, the eldest of 

22 A doctor's experiences 

whom was William Christian, the subject of this 

His mother belonged to the Christian family of 
Viro^inia, and she well illustrated the sterlinsr vir- 
tues and decided opinions for which it has long 
been distinguished . How faithfully she discharged 
this duty is established alike by the sentiment of 
love and i-everence with which she inspired her 
children, and by the reputation which each one of 
them established in after life for honor and probity 
in all relations. I well remember my visits to 
Greenway — the seat of the family — when a child, 
and of the awe and love with which I regarded her. 
Scrupulously neat in dress ; tall and stately in per- 
son ; observing the strictest decorum and etiquette 
herself, and exacting the same from others ; grave 
and reserved to the last degree, but never morose 
or fault-finding ; with a countenance upon which 
neither a smile nor a tear ever lingered ; and the 
embodiment alike of superlative dignit}^ of char- 
acter and of extreme kindness of heart, her pres- 
ence and her manner frightened me nearly out of 
my wits, while her tenderness and consideration 
called out my warmest affection. 

My father being her eldest child, she looked upon 
him as the future prop of the house, and she took 
especial pains to indoctrinate him with her own 
high principles, and to give him a thorough educa- 
tion. So great was his respect for her that he ac- 
cepted her teachings without questioning, while 
the desire to please her became and continued the 
ruling principle of his life. 

It is not surprising that, with such a mother, his 
bosom should have become the nurser}' of all that 
gives dignity to human nature, and that he should 
have developed into the splendid gentleman he was, 
and which all who knew him recognized him to be. 


He stood about six feet in his shoes, and, though 
eot stout, was well proportioned and very graceful ; 
he was as erect as a Lombardy poplar, and his car- 
riage was that of a trained soldier ; he always ap- 
peared neat and well clad, displaying, in fact, great 
taste in the matter of dress and personal adorn- 
ment ; he was especially fond of dogs and horses — 
as all Virginians are — and he prized only those of 
the best blood and the finest appearance ; he was 
brave to a fault, and as chivalrous as any knight of 
the olden time ; he was the soul of generosity, and 
the latch-string was always on the outside of his 
hospitable door ; he loved his family to idolatry 
and was the mostfaithful and loyal of friends ; he was 
a diligent student, keeping himself always au cour- 
mit with the progress of his profession, and his 
fondness for general literature was extraordinary 
for one so occupied with business ; he was a man 
of strong feelings, and in his early years he could 
not bring himself to bear the semblance of an af- 
front, but later on, when his heart had been wrung 
by affliction, a great change occurred in this re- 
gard, and he became a devout and consistent Chris- 
tian ; and he was truly a great physician — per- 
fectly posted, a keen observer, remembering every- 
thing he had seen and read, with a cool head and 
a warm heart, wedded to no dogma, absorbed in his 
mission, indifferent to praise or censure, and abso- 
lutely self-reliant ; he entered the chamber of sick- 
ness with the manner of a master, the mien of a 
friend, and the bearing of a gentleman, inspiring 
his patient at once with faith and hope, and show- 
ing in the treatment of the case a capacity for 
analysis, a genius in diagnosis, and a fecundity of 
resource, which have rarely had their equal in the 

Alike in Tyrrell, where he commenced his career, 

24: ~ A doctor's EXPERIENCES 

in Eden ton, where for so many years he devoted 
himself to his calling, and in Lynchburg, where 
his latter days were spent, his character as a man 
and his qualifications as a physician were appreci- 
ated in the manner and to the extent that I have 
indicated. No man, in fact, was ever brought into 
intimate relations with my father without realizing 
that his ideas of human excellence had been given 
a broader range and a higher development. 

On the occasion of his death, which occurred at 
Lynchburg, Virginia, in December, 1871, business 
was universally suspended, and the people of the 
place, without distinction of race or color, followed 
his remains to their final resting place ; while, in 
the language of a contemporary journal, "every 
tongue proclaimed : Well done thou good and 
faithful servant! And all realized that there was 
buried that day a noble specimen of the old Vir- 
ginia gentleman." . 

To the children of such a man bis memory must 
remain fresh and o;reen forever, must prove a leg- 
acy more precious far than " titles or estates," and 
an inspiration to high thoughts and honorable 
lives, to which their hearts can but respond in the 
fullest measure to their last pulsations. 

You know that I am no believer in the super- 
natural, and yet I must confess that tivice in my 
life I have permitted myself to be influenced by 
dreams in deciding questions of importance. To 
one of these instances I will refer in this connection, 
and will reserve the other for a different place in 
these memoirs. 

In January, 1873^ I received, through General 
Sherman, the offer of a position in the Egyptian 
army. Although I had sought this position, yet^ 
when the offer really came, I was greatly per- 
plexed as to whether or not to accept it. After 


debating the question with myself throughout the 
day, I retired to rest in a very excited and uncer- 
tain state of mind. For a long time sleep was an 
impossibility, but finally, as day dawned I lost 
consciousness for a brief period and sank into an 
uneasy slumber, from which I awakened suddenly, 
greatly impressed by a very vivid and protracted 

It seemed that I was in the old mansion at Eden- 
ton when my father — who had then been dead for 
more than two years — came into my room and asked 
me to walk with him, as he wished "to discuss the 
Egyptian question." Apparently, we walked and 
talked for several hours, and then returned to the 
house with the matter still undecided. He urged 
me to accept the ofier, and used every possible ar- 
gument to convince me of the wisdom of the change, 
and finally he said, in decided and solemn tones: 
"My son, I command you to go." These words 
settled the matter, and I completed my arrange- 
ments and took my departure, possessed by the 
idea that in some way I was gratifying my father. 
At any rate it turned out "for the best ;" it proved 
a new departure in the direction of prosperity and 
success, and but for the profound impression pro- 
duced by this dream, or coincidence, or whatever it 
may be called, I should have remained in Balti- 
more, enjoying the pleasure of your society, it is 
true, but wasting my life in college broils and pro- 
fessional rivalries. 

Of course, believers in spiritualism would find 
an immediate explanation of this incident, but hav- 
ing no faith in their creed, it is impossible for me 
to acqept their conclusions. What do you think 
about it? 

My skepticism in this connection will not sur- 
prise you after I have related my subsequent ex- 

.26 A doctor's experiences 

periences with spiritualism, or rather, after I have 
recalled to your mind certain incidents about which 
I have talked to you by the hour in other days. 

Some years since I went to the house of a gen- 
tleman of prominence in Baltimore — who was then 
completely carried away with this '^new revela- 
tion" — to witness certain "manifestations," which 
he assured me would be patent and conclusive. 
The company consisted of about a dozen persons, 
and we were invited into a darkened room, given 
seats around a circular table, and asked to clasp 
hands so as to ''complete the circuit," and to re- 
main perfectly silent. After a short delay our old 
friend Weaver, the undertaker, who, it seems, af- 
fected great faith in spiritualism and frequented all 
of its circles, suddenly arose from his seat, gesticu- 
lating wildly and uttering a strange shriek, which 
we were told was a "war-whoop," and indicated 
that he was possessed by the "spirit of an Indian. ' " 
The lights were turned on, and an effort was made 
to ascertain the name of the particular savage who 
was thus exciting to frenzy the burly body of the 
coffin-maker. One suggested Powhatan, another 
Billy Bowlegs, another Tecumseh, and so on until 
the entire roll of notorious Indians was called over ; 
but there was a negative shake of the head at each 
name suggested, while the gesticulations became 
more frantic and the so-called "war-whoop" grew 
longer and louder. Finally an idea struck me, for 
I had become greatly exercised in regard to the 
identity of the unfortunate redskin who was trying 
to give expression to his sentiments in the gyra- 
tions and yells of the medium, and I boldly asked, 
"Is it the great Blennerhasset^ " A smile of sat- 
isfaction illuminated the countenance of the de- 
lighted Weaver; a wild "Yah! Yah! Yah!" of 
assent substituted itself for the angry and defiant 


^^ war-whoop," and the secret was disclosed — the 
^' great unknown " stood revealed. The genial and 
gentle Blennerhasset — he ''whose shrubbery a 
8henstone might have envied," and over whose 
misfortunes so many tears have been shed — was 
the '' untamed" Indian whose spirit had mani- 
fested itself in the flesh of the undertaker. The 
host and his «;uests, all true believers, never "saw 
the point" or had the slightest suspicion of its ex- 
istence ; and while the}^ were devoting themselves to 
reciprocal congratulations over the facts of spirit- 
ualism as thus revealed and were questioning the 
savage, through his chosen medium, concerning 
tomahawks, scalping-knives, and war-dances, I 
slipped away, anything but a converted man. 

You remember our friend, William H. Owens, 
who frequently represented his ward in the city 
council, and whose untimely death by apoplexy we 
both deplored. Well, the poor fellow had the mis- 
ibrtune to lose his only son — a beautiful boy about 
ten years of age — shortly after the war, and at first 
it nearly broke his heart. He sought consolation, 
however, in spiritualism, and he found it, for he 
became convinced that the spirit of his son was in 
€onstant communication with him. He assured me 
that he could realize his presence, and hear his 
voice as plainly as he had ever done in life. He, 
consequent!}^, became perfectly tranquil and re- 
signed, because, as he said to me : '' the fate of the 
dear little fellow is settled. He can never suffer 
pain or sickness again, and he tells me that he is 
perfectly happy." • 

Hi all other respects he seemed entirely rational , 
while this delusion was to him an absolute reality. 
Some years afterward, as you well know, I suf- 
fered a similar calamity, and was in utter des]iair. 
Owens immediately came to my house, and insisted 

28 A doctor's experiences 

that I should rejoice rather than weep^ assuring me 
that he had positive information from his son that 
my dear boy was happy, and spent his time at my 
side, telling me " not to cry for him," but that I 
could not hear his voice because I did not believe 
in spiritual manifestations. God alone will ever 
know how my heart leaped at these words. '^ Be- 
lieve," said I ; "if you will only give me the slight- 
est proof upon which I can hang a belief — let me 
hear a single word from my son — I shall worship 
you to the end of my days." 

"I don't want that, but I would like to help 
you," he answered, very quietly; "and I give 
you my word that you shall have a communica- 
tion from him which will convince you of the 
truth of what I have told you. Only wait for 
two weeks, and I will take you to a person who 
will be the medium of this conversation." 

I was amazed, bewildered crazed, by these words, 
coming as they did from a man whom I knew to be 
honest, and to believe what he said ; and I waited for 
his coming with feelings such as those which the apos- 
tles must have experienced when they watchedfor the 
resurrection of their Lord. Finally he came, and 
took me to a house in Courtland street, near Pleas- 
ant, where we were ushered into a darkened room, 
and I was presented to a female reclining upon a sofa, 
apparently just issuing from a fit of catalepsy, or 
hysteria, or something else. 

"This lady," said my friend, "is a reliable 
medium." She has just arrived in Baltimore, and 
I have purposely avoided telling her your history, 
but you can place implicit faith in anything that 
she may say to you. He then withdrew, and left 
us alone, she apparently oblivious to what was going 
on around her, and / in a state of excitement 
bordering on insanity. 


After a delay of some moments she seemed to re- 
cover consciousness, and to become aware of my 
presence, when, in response to her stare of suprise 
and inquiry, I said to her: " Madam, I am not an 
idle intruder, but an anxious inquirer ; I wish to 
communicate with the spirit of one most dearly 
loved. Can you aid me in doing so ?" 

She rolled up her eyes until their whites alone 
were visible, swayed her body to and fro, and an- 
swered, "Yes, I can help you, for the spirit of the 
^loved one' wishes earnestly to speak to you." 

" What message have you for me? Tell me at 
once, I entreat you," said I, hardly able to con- 
l^ain myself. 

"Your sainted mother bids me to say to you," 
she began. 

"My mother^ madam!" I exclaimed, "She is 
alive and well." 

"Ah! excuse my inattention, "Your sainted 
father requests me," she resumed. 

^' M.y father, madam!" I cried out, "he is in 
perfect health — and the truth is, you are either an 
utter fraud or you are hopelessly drunk," and I 
precipitately left the room, cursing the fatuity 
which had induced me to ignore the suggestions 
of common sense, and to place myself in a position 
thus to have the most sacred sentiments of my 
heart trampled upon and mocked at by a lunatic 
upon the one side and an impostor on the other. 

I did not stop in my hurried flight to explain 
matters to poor Owens, who waited below to receive 
my thanks and to hear my confession of faith ; and, 
when I next heard of him, he had fallen in a fit of 
apoplexy, and had died without a struggle. It is evi- 
dent that, in this regard, he was insane — that he 
was a thorough-paced maniac on the subject of 

30 A doctor's experiexces 

I said in the premises that I was a skey)tic in this 
regard, and I am sure you will agree with me that, 
after such experiences as these — the one essentially 
ridiculous, and the other so inexpressibly painful — 
I have good grounds for my want of faith in this 

My youngest daughter, to whom I have just read 
these pages, says that the good Lord sent the 
dream and put my father into it in order to guide 
me into the right path in regard to the Egyptian 
proposition, and that the spirits had nothing to do 
with the matter. In a word, her idea — expressed 
in more technical language — is that it was a Provi- 
dential interposition, and not a spiritualistic mani- 
festation, which may be the true explanation, for 
what we know to the contrary. At any rate, it is a 
sagacious discrimination upon the part of a little 
girl — the child that you so skillfully brought into 
the world some twelve years since — and it shows 
as well that the seeds of faith and trust, which her 
mother sought to plant in her youthful heart, were 
not wasted and are germinating there. God grant 
that their roots may grow stronger and sink deeper 
continually, and that no adverse storm may ever 
disturb their firm hold upon her gentle nature. 

I have traveled far and seen much, and suf- 
fered greatly, but the longer I live and the more 
comprehensive my experience becomes the greater 
is my faith in religion, and the stronger is my con- 
viction of its necessity alike for the happiness of 
the individual, the stability of society, and the 
welfare of the world. 

I make it a point to seize the first opportunity 
whicli presents itself in these memoirs, thus clearly 
and decidedly to express myself upon this import- 
ant subject, because infidelity seems to have be- 
come the prevailing fashion of the times, and the 


special boast of our profession ; and I desire to 
place upon record my sentiments and opinions in 
this regard, and to leave them as a legacy to my 
cliildren, as a souvenir to my friends and as a les- 
son to my enemies, with the hope that all may 
profit by them. The man whose profession brings 
him for a lifetime into daily contact with the mis- 
fortunes of humanity, must take refuge either in a 
profound callousness, which refuses to look beyond 
itself and dwarfs his character and contracts his 
intellect until a condition of mingled selfishness 
and incapacity is reached, or in an exalted faith 
which seeks the " final cause " of its surroundings, 
and through it attains to the idea of future retri- 
bution and of God's final justice and loving kind- 
ness. He is compelled to attribute the harrowing 
scenes with which he is thus made familiar to the 
fiat of a being who possesses either the qualities of 
a devil-seeking vengeance, or the attributes of a 
God having as a purpose the ultimate rectification 
of a work- which he is compelled to do in the 
vindication of his governmental policy. 

32 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

It is natural to respect a self-made man — one 
who, without the advantage of family or fortune, 
rises by the force of his own character and genius 
to the level of those who originally were his supe- 
riors. The founder of a house really deserves and 
certainlycommands as much of the world's esteem as 
the descendant, who, by the mere accident of birth, 
inherits it with its Lares and Penates. He who fal- 
lows and sows is universally regarded as the equal, 
at least, of him who reaps and garners. 

It is perfectly legitimate that success in the ac- 
cumulation of wealth, or the attainment of posi- 
tion, or tlie acquisition of honors should engender 
an honest pride in the bosom of the man who has 
commanded it — of him who has conquered the 
adverse circumstances of his lot, and, in despite of 
opposing obstacles, has attained the realization of 
his hopes and reached the summit of his ambition. 
And yet, my dear doctor, there is a principle in 
every man's heart which prompts him to glor^^ in 
the fact that his ancestors w^ere men of recognized 
ability and standing : that the blood which cir- 
culates in his veins has been refined and purified 
by having flowed through those of a race of gentle- 
men. Nothing is more gratifying to human pride 
or more elevating to human character than to be 
able to trace back one's forefathers through succes- 


sive generationsof unquestioned probity and recog- 
nized position. The humblest representative of 
distinguished progenitors can but feel a tide of 
satisfaction rise high in the bosom when he reflects 
upon his connection with them, and he intuitively 
seeks to follow their example and to transmit the 
name which he bears, and they have honored, still 
unstained to posterity. 

It is true that success sometimes makes a fool of 
the individual who has achieved it. The pride to 
which he is entitled because of his victory over 
an adverse fate, degenerates into a contemptible 
vanity; he thinks that he has ''the world in a 
sling;" he affects the style of the peacock with the 
same mode of manifestation ; his proportions swell 
beyond the capacity of his tailor's measurement 
and estimate ; his alphabet loses all its letters save 
one and that is a personal pronoun ; his supercilious- 
ness overrides all rules alike of propriety and of 
o:ood-breeding: ; he i2:nores the ladder bv which he 
has ascended to his new position, and claims it by 
virtue of some prescriptive right or inherent des- 
ignation ; and he assumes an air of superiority 
and a style of grandeur which make him a butt to 
society, a terror to his friends, and a disgrace to 
his kind. I have seen many such "on their 
travels," and as they assumed to be representatives 
•of the supreme social development of America, 
and the most exalted type of manhood among 
their countrymen, they have made me wish a 
thousand times over that shoddyism was a peniten- 
tiary offense at home, and tha.t ^' les nouvenux 
riches'' were compelled by a law of Congress to 
confine themselves to their native shores. Fortu- 
nately, this variety of the self-made man is the ex- 
ception and not the rule, and the disgust and con- 
tempt which it inspires should not detract from 

34 ■ A doctor's experiences 

the honor and the respect so properly due to those 
who have honestly and really elevated themselves 
to commanding positions in life, and who have the 
wisdom to understand their surroundings and to 
appreciate their antecedents. 

I know, also, that there are scions of many a 
noble house who are by nature dwarfs and para- 
sites, and whose arrogant assumptions elicit uni- 
versal contempt and disgust. I acknowledge, too, 
that pride of birth loses all of its dignity and pres- 
tige when it steps a hair's breadth beyond its 
legitimate limits — when it becomes aught else than 
a source of private and personal gratification be- 
cause of the inheritance of a prouder name and of 
bluer blood than others, and an incentive to walk 
in the path which illustrious scions "have found 
or have made " for their descendants. 

It has been under the influence of such senti- 
ments as these that I have spoken of my father 
and his family, and it is in response to the sug- 
gestion of similar feelings that I shall now give you 
some account of ray mother^ and of those from 
whom she has inherited the virtues which adorn 
her character. I may speak with enthusiasm, but 
it is the enthusiasm of a son who knows and ap- 
preciates ''the mother who bore him, "and who 
has made him what he is, or rather, has taught 
him what he should be. Thank God ! she still 
lives, having long since passed the aUoted boundary 
of human existence, wdth an intellect upon which 
time has left no shadow, and a heart which has 
only grown the more tender and loving under the 
strain of life's trials and vicissitudes. 

She was born at Snowden, the ancient seat of her 
family, in Stafford County, Virginia, on the Sth of 
January, 1808. Her father was Thomas Alexan- 
der, and her mother Elizabeth Innes, the daughter 


of Judge Harry Innes, of Kentucky— eacli belonging 
to an old and distinguished family. Thomas 
Alexander was the great grandson of John Alexan- 
der, whose father was William Alexander, of 
Menstrie, Scotland. This remarkable man be- 
longed to the family of the Macdonalds, Lords of 
the Isles, and his career was a most distinguished 
one. He was knighted by King James, and 
granted the entire territory of Nova Scotia in 1621 ; 
he was sworn in of the privy council, and appointed 
Secretary of State, in 1626 ; he was made keeper 
of the signet in 1627 ; he was given charters of 
the lordship of Canada, and made a commissioner 
of the exchequer, in 1628 ; 'he was created Lord 
Alexander of Tullibody in 1630 ; he was appointed 
oneof the extralords of session in 1631, and he was 
raised to the dignity of Earl of Stirling and Viscount 
Canada, by patent dated June 14th, 1633. As a 
special mark of his sovereign's confidence and favor, 
with the grant of Nova Scotia he was accorded 
permission to divide the Province into one hundred 
parts or tracts, and to dispose of each of them, to- 
gether with the title of Baron — which he did, 
realizing from each purchase the sum of two hun- 
dred pounds sterling. His second son, John Alex- 
ander, emigrated to the colony of Virginia in 1669, 
settled in Stafford County, and purchased the 
Howison patent of land, which extended from 
Georgetown to Hunting Creek, and embraced the 
site of Alexandria, which was called after him. 
Brock, in the admirable "Records of old Virginia 
Families," which he has recently published, says 
of this one: " Of honored American families, not 
one was more early or has been more continuously 
conspicuous for worth, ability and essential service 
toward material progress and general enlighten- 
ment than that of Alexander." Indeed, a care- 

36 A doctor's experiences 

fill examination of its history shows that among its 
immediate representatives and those who have been 
connected with it by marriage appear the names 
of some of the ablest and purest men that our 
country has known, and that not one of its members 
has ever reflected dishonor upon his name and 

My grandfather, after having served with dis- 
tinction as a captain in the War of 1812, retired 
to his fine estate in Henrico County, Virginia, and 
died at a comparatively early age, leaving his wife 
with four daughters to mourn his loss. He is said 
to have been a gentleman of thorough education, 
of an unusually handsome person, and of the highest 

My grandmother was the daughter of Judge 
Harry Innes, first of Virginia and subsequently of 
Kentucky ; and I will speak of him and then re- 
turn to her, as I want j^ou to know something of 
both of them. 

Some weeks since I was visiting a patient at the 
Hotel Chatham, and, in coming out, I turned into 
the Rue Volney, where my carriage awaited me. 
Just before stepping into it, I observed a bookstall 
wherein many old volumes were exposed for sale, 
and with my usual curiosity in such matters, I 
turned and examined them. One of the first that 
attracted my attention was " Collins' Kentucky," 
which I purchased, as I knew that my grandmother 
was born in that State, and I hoped to obtain some 
further information respecting her family. My. 
hopes were fully realized, for I found in it a sketch of 
my great granclfather. Judge Harry Innes, which I 
shall introduce, at this point, so that you may know 
how good and great a man he was : 

" The subject of this sketch was born in 1752 in 
Caroline County, Virginia. His father, the Rev. 


Piobert Innes, of the Episcopal Church, was a native 
of Scotland, and married CatherineRichards, of Vir- 
ginia, by whom he had three sons, Eobert, Harry and 
James. The eldest was a physician, and Harry and 
James read law with Mr. Rose, of Virginia. Harry 
was a schoolmate of the late President Madison. 
James was attorney -general of Virginia, and one of 
the most eloquent debaters in the convention which 
adopted the present Constitution of the United 
States. During the administration of "President 
Washington he was deputed to Kentucky as a 
special envoy to explain to Governor Shelby and 
the Legislature the measures in progress by the 
Government of the United States to secure the 
navigation of the Mississippi. 

^'In 1776-'7, while the lead mines became objects 
of national solicitude and public care, for procur- 
ing a supply necessary to the revolutionary contest, 
the subject of this sketch was employed by the 
committee of public safety in Virginia to superin- 
tend the workings of Chipril's mines. His ability, 
zeal and fidelity in that employment commanded 
the thanks of that committee. In 1779 he was 
elected by the Legislature of Virginia a commis- 
sioner to hear and determine the claims to unpat- 
ented lands in the district including Abingdon. 
That duty he performed to public satisfaction. In 
1783 he was elected by the Legislature of Virginia 
one of the judges of the Supreme Court for the district 
of Kentucky, and on the third day of November of 
that year he entered upon the duties of his com- 
mission at Crow's station, near Danville, in con- 
junction with the Hon. Caleb Wallace and Samuel 
McDowell. In 1784 he was elected by the Legisla- 
ture of Virginia attorney-general for the district of 
Kentucky, in the place of Walker Daniel, who fell 
a victim to the savage foe. In 1785 he entered 

38 A doctor's experiences 

upon the duties of that office, in which he con- 
tinued until he was appointed in 1787 judge of the 
court of the United States for the Kentucky dis- 
trict, the duties of which he discharged until his 
death in Septemher, 1816. 

" Upon the erection of Kentucky into an indepen- 
dent State in 1792, he was offered, but declined, 
the office of chief justice. He was president of the 
first electoral college for the choice of governor and 
lieutenant-governor under the first constitution. 
In April, 1790, he was authorized by the Secretary 
of War — General Knox — to call out the scouts for 
the protection of the frontier ; and in 1791 he was 
associated with Scott, Shelby, Logan and Brown 
as a local board of war for the western county, to 
call out the militia on expeditions against the 
Indians, in conjunction with the commanding of- 
ficers of the United States, and to apportion scouts 
through the exposed tracts of the district. In all 
these responsible capacities the conduct of Judge 
Innes was without reproach, and raised him most 
deservedly high in the public esteem, and he re- 
ceived the repeated thanks of General Washington 
for the discharge of high trusts. As a judge, he 
was patient to hear, diligent to investigate, and 
impartial to decide. These qualities were especially 
requisite in his 'position as the sole judge, until 
1807, of the court of the United States for the dis- 
trict of Kentucky, whose decisions were final, un- 
less reversed by the Supreme Court of the United 
States. As a neighbor, as an agriculturist, and as 
a polished gentleman, in all the relations of private 
and social life, he was the model of his day and 

His brother, the Hon. James Innes, was not 
only attorney-general of Virginia^ as has been al- 
ready stated, but he was offered the appointment 


of Attorney-G-eneral of the United States by Gen- 
eral Washin2:ton himself. He died in Philadel- 
phia, whither he had gone on official business, in 
consequence of the rupture of an aneurism, and he 
lies interred in Christ Church burying-ground in 
that city. Mr. Wirt speaks of him in "The Life of 
Patrick Henry" with great enthusiasm, and pro- 
nounces him one of the most splendid orators of 
that age of eloquence. 

Judge Harry Innes married first Elizabeth Cal- 
laway, of Bedford County, Virginia, who died 
shortly after his removal to Kentucky, and. secondly 
Mrs. Shields, of that State. My grandmother was 
one of the four daughters who were the issue of his 
first marriage ; and the wife of the Hon. John J. 
Crittenden was the only child of the second. Con- 
temporary historians speak in the most flattering 
terms of the virtues, services and abilities of the 
various I'epresentatives of the Innes family^ and the 
record shows that alike as private gentlemen and 
as public servants their lives were without spot or 

Among my first recollections of my grandmother 
Alexander is her wedding — I mean, naturally, her 
second one — which took place at my father's house 
in Edenton when I was a "small boy," and cared 
far more for the "good things" with which the 
€vent was celebrated than for the remarkable cir- 
cumstance of being a witness to the marriage of a 
grand-parent. Subsequently I spent the summers 
of many years at her residence in Campbell County, 
Virginia, and my mind is filled with the most 
pleasant memories of her and of her beautiful 
home, Contentand good cheer reigned in undisputed 
sway beneath her hospitable roof. I have often seen 
her house crowded with visitors, who came and 
lingered to enjoy the "loving cup" filled with 

40 A doctor's experiences 

• tempting julep, which was sent with the rising of the 
sun to every guest ; the grand breakfast of hot rolls, 
loaf-bread, batter-cakes, mufHns, fried chicken ^ 
broiled ham, boiled eggs, fresh butter, and count- 
less other delicacies which were spread out at eight 
a. m., and at which it was a point of honor to be 
present; the pleasant rambles 'mid the flowers of 
the Isivvii and the oaks of the grove and the grass 
of the meadows ; the mighty dinners of flesh 
and fowl of every variety of choicest vegetables- 
from the garden, and richest fruits from the or- 
chard, supplemented by treasures of pickles and 
sauces, and followed by a profusion of cakes, tarts,, 
puddings, ices, and plates of peaches and milk — 
milk as rich as the rankest of clover could make it, 
and as cold as the ice-house itself; the siesta be- 
neath the aspens in the yard, with a watermelon 
feast as its finale ; the tempting suppers of fra- 
grant tea and aromatic coffee and hot biscuits and 
crispy waffles and steaming batter-cakes and end- 
less sweetmeats, which were served by a crowd of 
smiling darkeys with the twilight shadows ; and 
the pleasant reunion in the drawing-room at night, 
with its genial talk, its rich jokes, its pleasant 
stories, its sweet melodies, and its old Virginia 
reel as a conclusion to the day's enjoyment. 

It has been at least forty years since I visited the 
scene of all this hospitality and happiness, and in 
the mean time things have changed — completely 
changed — I can assure you. The two old people 
have long been sleeping beneath the shadow of St. 
Stephen's — the country church in which they 
prayed together with hearts overflowing with love 
and thankfulness. Otter View, their once beauti- 
ful home, has passed into the hands of strangers, 
while its hospitable roof is crumbling, its flower 
beds have been devastated by the ploughshare, its 


magnificent oaks have been devoted to the con- 
struction of negro cabins, its trembling aspens have 
been sold as fire-wood, despite the initials of my 
sweetheart which adorned them ; its well-kept gar- 
den has been consecrated to the tobacco crop, its 
obsequious darkeys have gone where '^ the good nig- 
gers go," and its beauties and glories are only things 
of memory and tradition. And the joyous throngs 
that once delighted to revel in the unclouded hos- 
pitality of this old Virginia home — where are they ? 
They have disappeared completely, vanished like 
some passing cloud that leaves no trace upon the 
heavens. Many a one is sleeping his last sleep, 
buried perchance beneath the sod of some alien 
field, or with '^the boys at Richmond," or under 
the solitary cedars of the neighboring cemetery ; 
while others, with whitened locks and tottering 
limbs, are nursing their grandchildren and talking 
of the "better times before the war;" and one 
who was the gayest of them all is sitting with 
rifled heart and weary brain by his solitary fireside 
in a land of strangers, writing the history of those 
happier days, and musing over the mutability of 
earthly things, and the strange problem of human 

1 spoke of the last time I saw Otter View, and 
there is an incident connected with ray journey 
thither which is worth relating. Having obtained 
a leave of absence from the faculty of the Univer- 
sity of Virginia, where I was then pursuinj^; my 
studies, I drove over to a small town on the James 
and took a canal boat for Lynchburg. A fellow- 
student by the name of Burwell, a man full of life 
and cleverness, who was returning to his home in 
Franklin County, accompanied me, and as we were 
young and the sky was cloudless, and the country 
was beautiful, we enjoyed the drive amazingly. 

42 A doctor's experiences 

On our arrival, we alighted at " Dyer's Hotel," 
called for a room, made our preparations for dinner, 
and, in accordance with the customs of the times, 
asked for a ^' drink of whisky" as a preliminary 
to the meal. To our great surprise, the darkey in 
attendance declined to comply with our demand, 
saying, '^It's agin Mass Dyer's orders, and I darnst 
to fetch it." We then demanded that he should 
bring up the landlord, as we wanted an explanation 
of what seemed to our youthful minds the most ex- 
traordinary thing that had ever occurred ^^ south of 
Mason's and Dixon's line." In a few moments- 
mine host appeared, looking as if he had been 
born and reared in a distillery, but with a temper- 
ance lecture upon the tip of his tongue. ''You 
want a drink, young men," he began with great 
solemnity; "I would as soon give you fire and 
brimstone, for whisky is a device of hell and a 
trick of the devil. I warn you never to touch or 
taste the unclean thing. Shun the cup; turn your 
backs upon it ; fly from it as you would from the chol- 
era and a mad dog. I am for temperance — for tem- 
perance against the world, the flesh, and the devil. 
Follow me ; follow in my footsteps ; take the pledge ; 
never drink a drop yourselves, and start a temper- 
ance hotel. This is my house, young men, and I 
keep it in my way. If you want a drink, go to a 
'rum mill' and get it, for this is a temperance 
hotel, and you can't drink spirits in it while I am 
above ground, sure as my name is Dyer." 

" But, Mr. Dyer," put in Burwell, who was a 
genuine wag, " while I respect your principles and 
am delighted with your hotels I am just dying of 
thirst, and I must have a drink." 

"Bring this thirsty man a glass of ice-water, 
Caleb," was Dyer's laconic command. 

" But, Mr. Dyer— hold on, Caleb," said Burwell, 


^^ although I like cold water as well as the next 
man — that is, on my hands and face when they need 
it — it won't begin to fill the hill in this case. T 
am a sick man, sir, a very sick man, and I need a 
drink as a medicine." 

" Bring this sick man a dose of castor oil, Caleb," 
shouted thejmplacable landlord^ as he marched off, 
proud of himself and glorying in his temperance 

" Jeemes Eiver !" exclaimed Burwell, giving a 
long whistle of disgust, " I am going out to see if 
the whole town has joined the temperance society, 
and if I can't hunt up a little whisky for love or 
money. This nonsense is all wrong, it is against 
the Bill of Rights, clearly."' 

He soon returned with a beaming face and a bottle 
of whisky, and we each took '^ forty drops" for 
the stomach's sake, and went to dinner. After 
the meal we sauntered over the town, and finally 
returned to our room, where a spectacle met my 
gaze that I shall remember to the end of my ex- 
istence. U'pon the table stood the bottle emptied 
completely of its contents^ and under, it lay the 
prostrate form of the great temperance advocate, 
the immaculate Dyer, as drunk as Bacchus. 

We called for Caleb, had our effects carried to 
another chamber, and left when the boat arrived, 
abundantly satisfied with Dyer and his temperance 

It seems that the poor wretch had been a great 
drunkard, but that a short time before our arrival 
he had ''sworn off," "taken the pledge," and 
christened his house "Dyer's Temperance Hotel." 

Unfortunately, the sight of the plethoric bottle 
had proved too much for his new-born virtue, and 
yielding to the temptation of the moment, he had 
fallen from grace, drunk to his fill, and tumbled 

44 A doctor's experiences 

under the table in a state of helpless and hopeless 

When I last heard of the unfortunate Dyer, his 
hotel was closed, and he was filling a '' drunkard's 
grave" upon the banks of the beautiful James, as 
many a better man has done, and will do, for the 
temperance cause can never flourish where " green 
mint" grows as luxuriantly as it does'in the Old 

My grandmother Alexander was a remarkable 
woman, for she inherited the strong sense, the ster- 
ling virtues, and the courtly bearing 0/ her family. 
She was the very soul of kindness, gentleness and 
good breeding. Although deprived of her vision 
at a compai-atively early period, she retained her 
vivacity and her cheerfulness to the end of life. 
The war swept away her property and left her de- 
pendent, but she never murmured, and she smiled 
and prayed on, until at the advanced age of ninety- 
two years her final summons came. 

Having been born in Kentucky wdien it was 
known as the " dark and bloody ground," she had 
a thousand interesting stories to tell — such as of 
Daniel Boone and his wonderful adventures with 
" the savage foe ;" of life in the ^^ block-houses" to 
which the women and children were constantly 
compelled to fly for shelter ; of encounters with the 
Indians which she had seen and in which she had 
actually taken part ; of the capture of lier relatives, 
two daughters of Colonel Calloway, and their sub- 
sequent rescue at a distance of forty miles from the 
fort by Col. Nicholson ; of the ill-fated expedition 
of Colonel Bowman, when he went out w^ith the 
flower of Kentucky's chivalry, and returned after 
having lost nearly his entire command, despite the 
desperate bravery of Logan, his second officer ; of 
the history of that extraordinary man — remarkable 


alike for his talents and his prostitution of them — 
Aaron Burr, over whose first trial her father pre- 
sided, and by whom so many good men and fair 
women were deceived and ruined ; of the chivalrous 
Blennerhasset, whose beautiful island home was once 
the consummation of the poet's dream, and whose 
misfortunes have excited so profound and general 
a sympathy ; of Henry Clay, when without friends 
or fortune, but with great talents and high courage, 
lie was commencing that career which ultimately 
reflected so much glory upon his country, and made 
him the object of an idolatry without a precedent 
in the history of the nation ; of her own illustrious 
father, to whom the highest positions came unsought 
and were held unsullied, who, by common consent, 
was recognized as the first gentleman and the 
ablest jurist of his day, and who enjoyed the dis- 
tinction of being a trusted friend of G-eorge Wash- 
ington ; and of a multitude of other incidents and 
persons of equal interest, with which and with 
whom the threads of her early life had been inter- 

I have lingered long over this theme of pedigree, 
m}^ friend, not to glorify myself in the slightest 
degree — not to afiect or to claim aught of superior- 
ity over my fellows — but that you and my children 
may understand the sources whence I have drawn 
the inspirations of my life, and because it has been 
from the commingling of the blood and virtues of 
these good and loyal people that she has sprung to 
whom I owe my existence, and upon whom my 
heart has ever lavished all the love and reverence 
of which it is capable. It is from this truly noble 
stock — these honorable and distinguished ancestors 
— that my mother has descended, and I can say, 
with truth and pride, that every trait of character 
and quality of mind which they possessed^ have 

46 A doctor's experiences 

found in her its counterpart and parallel. Honor- 
ing her husband supremely, the religion of her life 
has been to share his burdens, to divide his sor- 
rows, to smooth his pathway, to nurse him in his 
sickness, to sustain him in the hour of death, and 
to guard his memory as a sacred trust. Loving 
her children with an affection akin to idolatry, she 
has lived to sow only the seeds of virtue in their 
hearts, to make their joys and sorrows hers, to hold 
perpetually before them their father's life as " a 
lamp to their feet," and by precept and example 
to point their way to that '^better land" where 
hope has its fruition and faith its recompense. 

Such is, and has always been, my mother, and 
it is not surprising that a nature so full of tender- 
ness, so self-sacrificing and devoted, should inspire 
her children with sentiments of the deepest affec- 
tion and of the most supreme respect. '^I have 
had my reward already," she once said, when 
spoken to in regard to her love for her family, ^^for 
not one of my chiklren has ever told me a falsehood 
or disobeyed me." The principle of compensation 
thus finds one of its most significant illustrations 
in the reciprocal love and devotion which exists be- 
tween this good w^oman and those to whom she has 
given existence. 

My grandmother's half-sister, Maria Jones — the 
issue of her father's second marriage — first married 
Chief-Justice Todd, of Kentucky, and afterward the 
Hon. J. J. Crittenden, the distinguished Governor 
and the eloquent Senator, whose popularity through- 
out the entire country was hardly less than that of 
the great Kentuckian himself. 

Having been sent at the age of fifteen to a board- 
ing-school in Fairfax County, Virginia, it was my 
habit to spend my holidays in Washington as the 
guest of Mrs. Crittenden, and I thus had an oppor- 


tunity of becoming well acquainted with her and 
her illustrious husband, as well as with many of 
the most renowned statesmen of that day. 

I was born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, 
where my parents settled soon after their marriage, 
but my recollections of it are very indistinct, as 
they removed to the town of Edenton when I was 
only four years of age. 

Edenton is so named in honor of Charles Eden, 
one of the early governors of North Carolina, and 
is one of the oldest as well as most beautiful of 
Southern towns, having been incorporated in 1712. 
It is situated on a bay which is scarcely less pic- 
turesque than that of Naples, embowered in ma- 
jestic elms, adorned with luxuriant gardens, filled 
with antiquated but beautiful mansions, and has 
as a background a forest of sighing pines and weep- 
ing cypresses. It was there that my boyhood was 
spent and the first venture of my manhood made, 
and it is within the precincts of its old church-yard 
that I would like to sleep when the labors of life 
are ended. - 

48 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor: 

It pained me greatly to leave thebaven in which 
my boyhood had been spent so quietly, and to 
launch out into the world. Independent of my 
love for m)^ family and friends, I had a real affec- 
tion for my home — for the roof which had covered 
me so long ; for the trees under which I had 
played from earliest da3^s ; for the flowers that 
bloomed beneath my window and filled the house 
with perfume and my heart with gladness ; for 
the birds that built their nests in the arbor, and 
sang so sweetly all the day long; for the ''^old 
mammy " who nursed me with such unfaltering 
tenderness, and stocked my brain with camp-meet- 
ing tunes and the superstitions of her race ; and 
for the beautiful bay and the majestic sound and 
the gloomy forest and all the various objects with 
which my existence had been identified. It was 
sad, indeed, to be compelled to turn my back upon 
those who were dearest to me and the objects which 
I loved so fondly, and I went off with as sad a heart 
as ever beat in a boyish bosom. 

This sadness was increased by the expectation 
of being forced to give more attention to my books 
than my inclination prompted, and of being de- 
barred from the jay of my life — the pleasure of 
wanderins: about the countrv. It is true that I had 
been a great reader, but I had shamefully neglected 


my studies — partly from an inherent spirit of rebel- 
lion against coercion of all kinds, and for the reason 
that the system of instruction to which I had been 
subjected awakened in me only a feeling of resent- 
ment and indignation. Long years have passed 
since then, and I am not disposed to rake up the 
ashes of the past, but I will say this much, at 
least : It was a system of favoritism and partisan- 
ship of the lowest description. There was a 
chronic quarrel in the " board of trustees," and 
my father headed one of the factions, while 
another physician led the other, which, for the 
time being, was the more powerful. As the 
teachers were elected by this board, and were 
directly responsible to it, they made it the study 
of their lives to please only the stronger paity. 
The sons of those trustees who belonged to the 
majority were, therefore, placed at the head of 
their classes and kept there, while those of us who 
appertained to the minority were pronounced 
dunces, and made to appear as such under all cir- 
cumstances. I remember well the public exami- 
nation of a class in geography^ when Tom Jones 
was called up and questioned in regard to the State 
of Georgia. 

Teacher : '• Thomas, what can you tell me about 

No response. 

Teacher: '^ Thomas, don't be afraid, as good a 
scholar as you are must not lose his head because 
of a 'public examination.' What is the capital 
of Georgia?" 

A dead silence. 

Teacher: "This is unaccountable ! A boy who 
has stood at the head of his class during the entire 
session not able to answer a word in public ! Col- 

50 A doctor's experiences 

lect your thoughts, Thomas, and tell me how 
Georgia is bounded." 

Not a word in reply. 

Teacher: '-What do you mean? Have you 
lost your tongue ? Has the 23resence of all these 
people taken your senses completely away ? What 
is the matter with you ? Can't you answer a word 
about Georgia ?" 

" Why, Mr. D ," cried out Thomas, ''don't 

you know that Georgia ain't my State? You 
gave me Virginia to learn, and I know it like a 

The secret was out, and the system of instruc- 
tion pursued in the academy was made apparent. 
Tom Jones was by nature an ass, but he was a 
son of one of the majority of the board — a board 
which had just elected the teacher for another term 

and raised his salary besides — and Mr. D , in 

order to ffive eclat to his examination on o:eoo:ra- 
phy, had assigned him a particular State on which 
he was to prepare himself, and then to be publicly 
questioned. By some accident things became 
mixed in the teacher's mind, and he questioned his 
favorite on Geoi'sria instead of Yirojinia — with the 
result above indicated. This incident, with others 
ol a similar nature, developed in my mind so 

supreme a disgust for Mr. D and for teachers 

in general, as to cause me to neglect my books 
and to get fearfully behindhand in my studies. 

I had not the hunter's instincts^ but the ram- 
bler's, and though my dog and gun were m}'' con- 
stant companions, I have not much to answer for 
so far as the slaughter of the birds of the air and 
the denizens of the forest are concerned. The de- 
light of my heart was to hold communion with Na- 
ture and myself under the spreading trees of the 
forest, or beneath the blue sky of the fields, or on 


the reedy banks of the creek or by the sandy shores 
of the sound, or wherev^er I could find most of soli- 
tude and least of human fellowship. 

To me, with these tastes and habits, the ^' rough 
and tumble ' ' life of a boarding school seemed ap- 
palling, and I looked forward with dread to the 
surrender of this source of enjoyment, and, as I be- 
lieved, of moral development. 

My dog I loved passionately, for he was unusally 
intelligent, while his attachment to me was some- 
thing remarkable. He was certainly capable of 
reasoning and he understood every word that fell 
from my lips. That he was cognizant of my ex- 
pected departure I am convinced, for he gave evi- 
dence of much distress of mind, refusing food, rov- 
ing restlessly about with drooping ears and trailing 
tail, and an occasional moan which resembled that 
of a sick child. When I bade him good-bye, as I 
did with my arms folded about his neck and tears 
streaming from my eyes, I never beheld in any 
countenance a look of such profound sorrow as I 
saw in his. It was with great difficulty that he 
could be prevented from following me, while his 
whimper of pain had something so human in it 
that it has sounded in my ears ever since. Alas I 
I never saw my beloved Byron again, though I 
have shed many a tear over his grave, for on the 
night of my departure he stole into my room, lay 
himself upon my bed, and was found on the suc- 
ceeding morning stiff and cold, having died of a 
broken heart. 

My father, who was greatly grieved by this sad 
event, had him placed in a coffin and decently 
buried beneath the old pear tree in the garden,, 
where he still sleeps peacefully and not forgotten. 

Can it be that this noble creature, who in life 
manifested th^ attributes of courage, love, fidelity,^ 

52 A doctor's experiences 

and devotion even unto death, shall be left to sleej) 
on "a mass of common dust," when other beings 
inferior in intellect and character are awakened by 
the final trump? I cannot say or even conjecture, 
l)ut of one thing I am sure: If I am '^called"' in 
that day of doom, and find myself possessed of con- 
sciousness and identity, I shall look for the well- 
remembered form of my faithful friend, and shall 
hope to liear his bark of welcome and delight again. 

As I write these words, unbidden tears fall upon 
my paper, for they unlock the coffers of memory 
and bring out thoughts and recollections of the 
past which quite unman me. 

Speaking of Byron reminds me of Fanny, the 
little dog that my children raised in those hard 
years in Baltimore just after the war, and loved so 
well, because, perchance, they had so little to di- 
vide with her. Do you remember her extraordi- 
nary conduct when my little boy was taken? At 
any rate I will repeat the story, for it is worth it. 
Just before Ned's death, Fanny came running into 
the room, sprang upon the bed, gazed with a wist- 
ful look into his face for an instant, licked his cold 
a,nd clammy hands, and then, with a low wail and 
an expression of unutterable sadness, ran wildly 
away as if she were pursued or had run mad. She. 
was not seen again until the remains of our dar- 
ling had been carried away, when she crawled 
from beneath a bed in another chamber, the very 
picture of despair and almost a type of emaciation, 
for she had not stirred nor tasted food for two en- 
tire days. That she knew he was dead and we 
were wn-etched, she indicated in many ways for 
several weeks. Indeed, she never recovered her 
wonted playfulness, wdiile she manifested an in- 
creased affection for every member of the family 
from that time forward. 



Some months afterward there came into my of- 
fice a little boy, the tones of whose voice at once 
reminded me of those of my own dead son, so much 
so in truth that I found difficulty in commanding 
myself sufficiently to prescribe for him. In a mo- 
ment I heard Fanny scratching and barking vio- 
lently at the door, and when I |)crmitted her to en- 
ter she sprang upon him, and overwhelmed him 
with caresses. These demonstrations of delight 
lasted but an instant, for she seemed to take in 
the situation at a glance and to understand that 
even her acute senses had been deceived ; her merry 
bark immediately changed into a distressed whim- 
per, her ears fell and her tail trailed on the floor, 
and she turned and rushed away, the very picture 
of sorrow and disappointment. For the whole day 
she concealed herself, emitting an occasional cry, 
as if she were in pain, and refusing both water and 

It is needless to tell you how profound an im- 
pression these incidents produced upon our minds, 
and with what affection and tenderness we ever 
afterward regarded her. 

While on the subject of dogs, I cannot refrain 
from telling you another story, which has an amus- 
ing side to it. 

In Cairo my children had a poodle of which they 
were very fond, as it was the most docile and harm- 
less thing imaginable. As the Egyptians have a 
great aversion to these animals — regarding them 
as unclean and as imparting profanation by their 
touch — we were constantly having difficulties about 
our little pet which finally culminated rather seri- 
ously. One day a Pasha of high position and 
great pretensions came to pay me a visit, and find- 
ing the door open he entered the house and clapped 
his hands, according to the eastern custom, to an- 

54 A doctor's experiexces 

noiince his presence and to summon a servant. 
Unluckily, only the acute ears of Aula caught the 
sound, and she rushed into the parlor to welcome 
the visitor with friendh' bark and kind caresses, as 
was her wont. In an instant the whole household 
was startled bv a noise of rushinor feet mino^led 
with loud cries for assistance, uttered alternately 
in Arabic and in English. We entered the room 
in a body, and, to our consternation, found the 
Pasha mounted upon the center-table by the side 
of the lamp and in the midst of our curiosities of 
faience, etc., frightened nearly to death and shout- 
ing for assistance, while the poodle was coursing 
around the "treed" dignitar}-, barking to the full- 
est capacity of her vocal organs, evidently de- 
lighted with the cordial reception which she had 
given her master's guest. 

Although I had coffee served and overwhelmed 
his excellency with expressions of regret and to- 
kens of hospitality, he could be induced to remain 
but a few moments, and took his departure, filled 
with apprehensions on account of the dog and in- 
dignant with me because I had rendered such a 
scene possible by keeping an animal which all 
good Mohammedans regard with aversion and dis- 
gust. We became better friends afterward^ over 
the couch of a sick child, but he never could refer 
to his adventure without becoming angry and lec- 
turing me furiously for my want of good sense and 
proper tact in failing to respect the sentiments and 
prejudices of a people with whom I had cast my 

Although he had spent several years in England 
and spoke the language of that country fluently, 
he had never abandoned the prejudices of his race 
and religion. He was an Arab in every cell and 
fiber of his heart, notwithstanding his association 


with gentlemen and Christians, and without re- 
gard to the thick coat of civilized polish with 
which he had besmeared himself. As an evidence 
of this I have only to tell you that our little dog 
disappeared on tire succeeding day, to the great 
sorrow of my children, and I have every reason to 
believe that when the Pasha left the house he com- 
manded the '^Boab" to destroy the unoffending 
little creature at the earliest possible moment. 

As I passed through Washington en route to 
Alexandria, I called on Mr. Tyler, who was then 
the President of the United States, having become 
so by the death of Greneral Harrison. The Pi'esi- 
dent received me kindly, as he knew my parents 
well, his first wife having been a Christian and a 
near relative of my father. He was a tall, gaunt, 
^nd ungainly man, with a long, oval, and reced- 
ing forehead, and a nose of the Roman type, exag- 
gerated in its dimensions, but his manners were of 
that frank, cordial. Southern kind which won all 
hearts, and showed the intrinsic kindness of the 
nature which inspired them. Only a short time 
before he had been repudiated by the Whig party, 
and having no following, he was, as he told me 
with a touch of sadness in his tone, 'Hhe best 
abused man in the country." As you have always 
been something of a politician, I am sure you will 
recall the great excitement which prevailed in con- 
sequence of the dispute between Mr. Tyler and the 
Whig party — led by Mr. Clay — which ensued in 
consequence of the refusal of the President to ap- 
piove the bank bills. 

After the most memorable political campaign ever 
known, when a whole people got drunk with '' hard 
cider," and the magical refrain of "gTippecanoe 
and Tyler too" becamethe ''national anthem," and 
swelled in thunder tones throughout an infatuated 

56 A doctor's experiences 

country, Cleneral Harrison and Mr. Tyler were 
elected, by the almost unanimous vote of the 
electoral college, to the respective positions of 
President and Vice-President of the United States. 
Their inaguration amid universal rejoicing ; then 
the sudden death of the President, with the genu- 
ine sorrow it produced ; and the establishment of 
the Vice-President in the vacant Presidential chair, 
followed each other in such rapid succession as to 
appear like the shifting scenes of some histrionic 
drama. The Whig party having a majority in 
both branches of Congress, seemed to be in a posi- 
tion to realize its dream of governmental policy^ 
and to perpetuate its power indefinitely. It im- 
mediately proceeded, consequently, to the con- 
sideration of a bill for the establishment of a na- 
tional bank with almost unlimited powers, and, on 
the 28th of July, 1841, it was sent to the Presi- 
dent for his approval. To the regret of his politi- 
cal friends and the ruin of his party, he unhesi- 
tatingly returned it to the Senate, announcing 
himself as being ''conscientiously opposed on con- 
stitutional grounds " to the creation of such a 
bank as that provided for in the bill submitted for 
his signature. Again the experiment was tried, 
and another bill of similar import was passed by 
Congress and sent to the President, but the result 
was the same —he peremtorily vetoed it as he had 
done its predecessor. Mr. Clay, yielding to his im- 
perious temper, and persuaded that Mr. Tyler had 
betrayed and ruined his part}^, attacked him with 
great virulence, bringing to bear that power of 
sarcasm in which no man was his superior, and 
that fury of denunciation which, like the light- 
ning's flash, withered and blasted wherever it 
fell. As a natural consequence, the party which 
worshiped the "great Kentuckian " as a demi- 


God, accepted bis conclusions, and, turning upon 
the man it had recently idolized, sought to rend 
and ruin him. In order to appreciate this differ- 
ence between Mr. Tyler and the Whig party, it is 
necessary to place yourself in his position and to 
survey the field from his standpoint. 

Up to the hour when the dispute occurred Mr. 
Tyler bad been universally regarded as the very 
soul of honor and integrity. My father, who was 
reared in his county, and had known him from 
earliest childhood, told me that there never lived a 
purer or a more high-toned man, and that he was 
just the one to submit to torture or to death for the 
sake of that which he believed to be right. It is 
likewise on record — in documents written and pub- 
lished since 1819 — that he had always been '' con- 
scientiously opposed on constitutional grounds " to 
a national bank, while Mr. Webster states in a 
letter written to Mr. Kitchen, on the 16th day of 
July, 1841, that 'Hhe opinions of these gentle- 
men — Harrison and Tyler — were generally known 
on all political subjects, and those of the latter 
gentleman, especially on the bank question, were 
as well known as the sentiments of any public man 
on any subject whatever." 

It is also true that he did not seek the nomina- 
tion, and made no pledge in connection with it, 
bnt that he was sought for and was nominated be- 
cause of his availability — because his known char- 
acter and opinions made him acceptable to the peo- 
ple of the country, and were calculated to advance 
the interests of his party. 

In addition to this, it is well known that, until his 
Dayton speech, which w^as delivered subsequently 
to his nomination and some time after the canvass 
was commenced, G-eneral Harrison himself was 
supposed to be equally opposed to a national bank, 


and that, even in that speech, he admitted his 
strong leanings against such an institution, and 
his unwillingness to sanction any measure propos- 
ing its establishment '' unless it became absolutely 
necessary for the successful management of the 
Government, and was chartered with the most 
limited powers possible." 

Let me ask, then, if it was just and fair to de- 
nounce Mr. Tyler as a traitor to his party because, 
when called upon to approve or disapprove of a 
measure submitted to him by Congress, he ad- 
hered to the conviction of a lifetime, differed with 
his friends in regard to a measure wdiich had never 
been regarded as a test of party fealty, and, in- 
stead of followino' the suf^^orestions of ambition or 
the dictates of friendship, or the requirements of a 
narrow partisanship, he chose to do that which he 
considered right, consistent, and most beneficial to 
the wdiole country ? 

It was not reserved for posterity to answer this 
question ; the reply came before his career was 
ended ; and in the homage of the people of the 
entire South and the unsought honors of his native 
State, he found that recompense for which his 
wounded but still proud and conscientious spirit 
had siofhed so long; and so richlv merited. 

I met him in Ricbmond wdien, as a member of 
the Confederate Congress, he was regarded with a 
degree of confidence, respect, and veneration which 
could not have been otherwise than gratifying to 
a man of his chivalrous and sensitive nature — to 
one who had been called to endure so much of 
obloquy, outrage, and persecution for conscience 
sake, and in the defense of what he believed to be 
the highest interests of his country. 

It was a source of infinite satisfaction to him to 
find that, wdien the other members of his Cabinet 


deserted him, Mr. Webster remained faithfully at 
his post. 

Although a Whig of '^the strictest sect," and 
an ardent advocate of a national bank — as he ex- 
pressly declared in his famous letter to the Na- 
tional Intelligencer of the 13th of September, 1841 — 
he had the good sense to appreciate the consist- 
ency of Mr. Tyler's course, and the patriotism to 
sustain him in the face of as fearful a tide of per 
secution as it ever fell to the lot of a statesman to 
meet and stem. Even the reputation which the 
*' Sage of Marshfield " had established for sagacity, 
judgment, probity, and love of country did not 
shield him against the wrath of the disappointed 
politicians who sought to sacrifice him, covered 
with honors and revered by the whole world as he 
was, in order that they might reach and destroy 
the President. Confiding, however, in the sin- 
cerity of his own opinions, and giving Mr. Tyler 
the fullest credit for his conscientious convictions, 
he stood like a "stone-wall" between the per- 
secuted and his persecutors, and threw the weight 
of his great name and influence upon the side of 
the administration. The history of the nation 
contains no prouder or more thrilling page than 
that upon which is recounted the story of the mu- 
tual sacrifices of these two great men upon the 
altar of their country. Victims though they were of 
vindictive personal and. political assaults, the names 
of the President and Mr. Webster will descend to 
posterity associated with one of the most brilliant 
administrations which the country has known. Mr, 
Tyler presented me to Miss Gardner, a young and 
beautiful woman to whom lie was subsequently 
married, and who, notwithstanding their disparity 
of years, bore him several children, and made him 
an excellent wife. The father of this ladv was 

60 A doctor's experiences 

then the guest of the President, and was having a 
delightful time in Washington society, little dream- 
ing of the sad fate which awaited him. 

The Princeton, a vessel of war constructed by 
Commodore Stockton, and carrying the heaviest 
piece of ordnance that had been seen at that 
day, came up the Potomac and cast anchor 
opposite Alexandria. Accompanied by a number 
oF school-mates I visited her, and was shown 
her beautiful cabins, her powerful engines, and 
her wonderful gun, which was fired for our 
amusement by the officer in charge. On the suc- 
ceeding day I heard a tremendous report from the 
river below Alexandria, which I knew came from 
the great gun of the Princeton. Judge of my horror 
wdien I learned that the report had been caused by 
the bursting of this huge cannon, and that among 
the killed were Dr. Gardner, Judge Upshur, of the 
Cabinet, Commodore Kennon, and several other dis- 
tinguished persons. The President made a narrow 
escape, for, though the gun was to be fired in his 
special honor, some insignificant circumstance 
called him to the cabin only a moment before the 
accident occurred. He was always called by his 
friends " lucky John Tyler/' because throughout 
his entire life the rarest pieces of good fortune 
and the strangest escapes from accident occurred 
to him. My father told me that he once heard Mr. 
Stevenson, of Virginia — who so long represented 
the United States at the Court of St. James, and 
was an unusually handsome man — twit Mr. Tyler, 
in the outset of his career, on what he called the 
" sublimest gift of ugliness, and the greatest run 
of luck'' that ever a man had. "Yes," said 
Mr. Tyler, " the Lord has dealt lavishly with me 
in these respects ; but, Stevenson, had he made me 
as good looking as you are, I should be President 


of tbe United States." little dreaming what his 
luck was really to he in the end. 

The thing called luck is a curious phenomenon. 
It is true that, as a general rule, ^'Providence is 
on the side of the heaviest artillery/' and that 
"every man is the architect of his own fortune," 
but, apart from all this, some men are constantly sub- 
ject to strange freaks both of good and of bad fortune, 
entirely independent of their merits or defects. 
History is filled with instances illustrative of this 
fact, and the observation of every one confirms it. 
The prejudice against Friday as an unlucky day 
is, as you may know, almost universal in Christian 
countries, and I found that the Mohammedans are 
equally prejudiced against Wednesday, though no 
authority exists for it in the Koran. The old 
adage that ''it is better to be born lucky than rich," 
has a great deal of wisdom in it, for to the lucky 
• man anything is possible. I have, for instance, 
two friends — one is passionately fond of racing, 
and, without knowing anything about horses or 
taking the trouble to inform himself, he scarcely 
ever makes a bet without winning it ; while the 
other would be sure to lose Mr. Mackay's fortune 
to-morrow if it were given him to-day, and by no 
apparent fault of his own. 

Whatever has come to me, whether of good or 
evil, has come with a "rush." My pathway has 
either been canopied with the fairest flowers or 
paved with the sharpest thorns ; my portion has 
either been of the brightness of heaven or of the 
blackness of hell. My life has been the embodi- 
ment of all that can be conceived of the improbable, 
the unexpected, and the extreme^ alike as regards 
hope and disappointment, prosperity and adversity, 
praise and censure, and all the varied conditions 
which make up the sum and substance of human 

62 A doctor's experiences 

I well remember how forlorn and miserable was 
my first day at school. The solemn aspect of the 
principal, the stern bearino; of the masters, and 
the subdued manner of the boys were like a 'new 
revelation" to me, and I gazed mechanically upon 
my books without the ability to comprehend a 
word of them, thinking of home, and counting the 
days which must elapse before I should see it 

At niufht a bed was assio:ned to me in a long; dor- 
mitoi'y where more than a dozen boys slept, and 
in sheer bashfulness I waited until the lights had 
been extinguished before I began to undress ray- 
self. Profound silence reigned around, and I said 
my prayers with shivering lips and crept into bed, 
musing on my mother's tearful face and old Byron's 
pleading gaze on the evening of my departure. In 
a moment I found myself enveloped in sheets and 
blankets upon the floor, and I discovered that the 
sacking had been carefully detached in order that 
this result might be accomplished with certainty 
and facilitv. One loud roar of lauo'hter resounded 
through the chamber, and a dozen boys leaped from 
their beds and gathered around me, offering assist- 
ance and pretending to sympathize with ixiy mis- 
fortune, but really amused at my struggles to ex- 
tricate myself, and at the strong terms in which I 
gave expression to my indignation. As it was im- 
possible to rearrange the bed, I made a pallet upon 
the floor and slept as well as could be expected 
until the morning, having remarked to the boys as 
they returned to their couches, ''w^e will see about 
this to-morrow." The bell rang at 6 a. m., and 
we hurried to prayers, and afterward gathered in 
the "wash room" to prepare for breakfast. So 
soon as the door was closed I said to my compan- 
ions of the dormitory : "Well, boys, the time has 


come for settling the affair of last night, and be- 
fore I have eaten my breakfast I intend to trash 
the rascal who played the trick on me." They 
hooted at me ; they declared themselves equally 
guilty ; they pronounced me a fool for wanting to 
fight over '-'a little fun;" and they informed me 
that it w^as the " rule of the school" to treat every 
new comer in that way. My blood was up, how- 
ever, and I would listen to no explanation, for I 
knew that if I failed to resent this indignity a dozen 
more would be attempted. "No," said I, "you 
can't get out of it in that way, and if the boy who 
did it will have the courage to say so, I shall whip 
him or he shall whip me." 

A blue-eyed, pleasant-looking fellow about my 
own age then walked forward and said: " If you 
will be a fool and fight I am your man, for I un- 
fastened the sacking and let you down." 

With tliat we "pitched in," and though he 
gave me a blow on the nose which made me " see 
stars" for an instant, I soon had him on the floor 
and at my mercy, for I was possessed of great 
physical strength for one of my years. At this 
juncture in rushed Tom, the negro waiter, and in 
a moment separated us, saying : " Is you not 
shamed of yourselfs to be fitin here just arter a 
sayin un your prayers, and brekass is a waitin, 
and de coffee is gittin cold in de bargin. Shake 
hands and make it up, or I'll be for tellin Mass 
George — the principal — sure as preachin, I will." 

So we shook hands and became friends, and re- 
mained such until death put an end to his brilliant 
career, more than thirty years afterward. This boy 
was George Otis, whose great work in connection 
with the establishmentof tlie Army Medical Museum 
and the publication of the "Surgical History of the 
War" is appreciated throughout the civilized world, 

64 A doctor's experiences 

and whose high character and amiable disposition 
earned for him the friendship and respect of all 
who were brought in contact with him. It is true 
that circumstances placed us on opposite sides dur- 
ing the war, but nothing ever interrupted the cur- 
rent of the warm attachment which was established 
between us on that cold morning in the wash-room 
at Clarens under Tom's auspices, and I mourned 
his death as if he had been one of my own house- 
hold. No better man ever lived, and the service 
which he has rendered to science and to humanity 
will stand as a proud and enduring monument to 
his memory long after the generation that knew 
him has passed away forever. 

This encounter produced a profound sensation 
among the boys, and when I accepted a challenge 
for a wrestling match with the bully of the school, 
and succeeded in " throwing him, the best two out 
of three," my prowess was fully acknowledged, 
and I had no trouble from that time forward. 

My father, who was less of a practical Christian 
in those days than in later life, charged me when 
I was leaving home always to fight when in a diffi- 
culty, adding that it was the surest means of Avin- 
ning the friendship of an honorable adversary, and 
of securing an exemption from future indignities. 

At any rate it pr(ived a trump card m this in- 
stance, for it saved me from a course of hazing and 
made me the most popular boy in the school. 

It was, indeed, a fortunate circumstance — as I 
soon discovered, and with much trepidation — that the 
story of this encounter did not reach the ears of the 
principal, for he would have regarded me in the 
light of an untamed savage, unfit to associate with 
those over whose '-conversion" he had labored so 
faithfully, and I should have been sent home in dis- 




My Dear Doctor : 

The narration of this incident naturally suggests 
the subject of those personal affairs, and that class of 
so-called fire-eaters for which the South was once 
notorious. I have in my mind's eye as I look back 
to ante bellum times a number of persons, the prin- 
cipal object of whose existence seemed to be per- 
sonal difHculties, and whose chief delight was to 
think and to talk of nothing but fighting. 

They had been '^principals" in several duels, 
they had been engaged in street fights innumerable, 
they had devoted themselves exclusively to the 
-study of the ''code of honor," and it was quite 
impossible to have business affairs of friendly re- 
lations with them without incurring the hazard of 
being held responsible or called out upon the most 
trivial pretext. When hostilities threatened they 
iDecame more excited and bellicose than ever, and 
they raved so violently of the slaughter which they 
proposed to make in the ranks of the enenw that 
one could not help trembling as much for the modi- 
cum of intellect which Heaven had given them as 
for the foe which they so longed to meet upon the 
battle-field. They insulted all who talked of peace 
and compromise ; they wore huge "cockades" upon 
their hats and "sprigs of palmetto" in their 
button-holes ; and they raised companies of soldiers, 
abused their neighbors into enlisting, and went forth 

66 A doctor's experiences 

to the fight with eyes blurred by visions of the blood 
which was to flow at their bidding, and brains dazed 
by calculations of the graves which they w^ere ta 
fill with victims. 

But alas for the vanity of human calculations f 
The places which knew them once — the bar-rooms 
and the street-corners of their native towns — soon 
knew them again. It did not take more than a 
skirmish or two to teach them that they had mis- 
taken their vocation ; they soon learned that they 
had " no stomachs for the fight ;" and they speedily 
made the demonstration complete that those to 
whom personal encounters were a pastime the field 
of battle' had no attractions, but, on the contrary, 
a power of repulsion which sent them to their homes 
wiser men and better citizens. 

It is happily true that with the " surrender" the 
entire race of professional duelists and fire-eaters 
disappeared from the face of the earth, and that 
the code of honor has been appealed to only under 
exceptional circumstances — in such emergencies as 
must occasionally present themselves everywhere 
and have no identification with a special section. 

There is one thing which I must say, and to which 
I am sure you will agree, notwithstanding your 
amiable character and your respect* for the laws, 
the practice of dueling is not per se an unmixed 
evil. The certainty that one is to be held to the 
strictest responsibility for words and actions exercises 
some degree of restraint upon individuals and ipso 
facto protects societ}^ against evils which cannot 
otherwise be reached and punished. In France, 
where this responsibility amounts practically to 
nothing — for a blow is punisbed, no matter what 
may have been the provocation, and duels are so 
arranged as usually to be bloodless — licentiousness 
under every conceivable guise is rampant ; w^hile 


neither position nor character nor sanctity of the 
domestic circle is a safeguard against the shaft of 
malice or the breath of slander. 

In my early days a gentleman in the South could 
no more fail to send or to accept a challenge, when 
circumstances justified it, than he could refuse to 
tell the truth under oath ; and I have had to do 
both in my time, though 1 say it now with regret 
and repentance. One of these instances I must re- 
late, because of its singular conclusion. 

Not long after I had commenced the practice of 
medicine, John Hall, the negro-trader, requested 
me to accompany him to a neighboring village to 
visit one of his slaves who was said to be very sick 
there. We took the steamer — the one which ran 
between the two places three times weekly, and 
remained only half an hour at the latter — and 
went to our point of destination. When we reached 
the house of the sick man we found that the doc- 
tor in regular attendance was out of town, and 
that a "consultation" between him and myself 
was, therefore, impossible. As we had but half an 
hour to remain before the departure of the boat, 
and as the master was naturally anxious about his 
slave, for he was worth at least $1,200 in the mar- 
ket, he importuned me to see him, and I agreed to 
do so on the following conditions, viz : that I 
should not be called upon to express an opinion 
respecting the treatment which had been insti- 
tuted ; that I should only give, in general terms, 
an opinion as to the chances of his recovery, and 
that I should leave a sealed note for the physician 
explaining the circumstances under which I had 
seen the patient, and giving him my views of the 
case. These conditions were accepted, and I saw 
th<3 patient, told his master that he was desper- 
ately ill, and left a sealed note for the doctor, ex- 

68 A doctor's experiences 

pressing my views of the case, and adding thai I 
should return on the following Wednesday, when 
I hoped to meet him in consultation. He did not 
meet me, but left a message to tlie effect that I had 
treated him unfairly by seeing the case in his ab- 
sence, that I had mistaken the side upon which the 
pneumonia existed, and that he, consequently, de- 
clined the consultation. I returned home imme- 
diately, and, on the following morning at an early 
hour, 1 sent a friend in a row-boat to his place of 
residence, bearing a challenge to be delivered in 
the event of his refusing to apologize for his con- 

On the succeeding day my friend returned, bring- 
ing with him an apology duly signed and attested, 
and I thought no more of the matter until it was 
brought to my attention in a peculiar manner, 
some years afterward. 

During the war I was ordered to North Carolina 
and made a member of a board duly instructed to 
examine all medical officers connected with the reg- 
iments then serving in that State as well as such 
others as might apply for admission to the medical 
staff of the army. We had been at work only a 
day or two, when the doctor with whom I had had 
this difficulty presented himself for examination, 
his papers showing that he was already attached to 
a regiment in the field. He was abashed when he 
saw me, but I advanced and shook hands with him, 
which seemed to put him more at his ease. In a 
brief conversation with my colleagues I obtained 
permission to examine him on behalf of the board, 
and I began by propounding the following question : 
" What is pneumonia and what are the signs by 
which its presence is indicated?" He gave me a 
look of utter astonishment, but made no answer, nor 
could he have given an intelligent one had his soul's 


salvation Leen at stake, and he stood confused and 
shaking in every limb, the picture of utter dismay. 
I never felt so keenly for any one in my life, and I 
was utterly disgusted with myself for having asked 
the question under the circumstances. I walked 
up to him and said in an undertone: "Doctor, 
walk into the ante-room and compose yourself a 
little. I am deeply pained at having caused you 
so much annoyance." So soon as he left the room 
I said to my colleagues : ' ' This is one of the ablest 
]3ractitioners in North Carolina. I know him well 
and he knows as much about medicine as we do, 
but he is too much confused to answer a question. 
I propose that we pass him on his standing as a 
physician without an examination." They as- 
sented, and I called him into the room again and 
said to him: ''Doctor, we have considered your 
case, and, in view of your embarrassment, we have 
concluded to pass you without examination upon 
your known standing in the profession, fully as- 
sured that you know as much about medicine as 
we do." The tears came into his eyes, and "I 
thank you, gentlemen/' w^ere tlie only words that 
he could command on the occasion. When the 
board adjourned I found him waiting without ; and 
having taken me apart, he said: "Dr. Warren, I 
once treated you like a brute, and you have re- 
venged yourself by treating me like a gentleman. 
While I live you will have a warm friend ready to 
die for you." With that we parted, never to meet 

I can but add in this connection that the war 
made brave men of those who had been considered 
cowards previously. I well remember a young 
man, named Bob Johnson, who had been noted 
during his entire life for his timidity and his 
weakness of character. He was a good-hearted fel- 

70 A doctor's experiences 

low, and as strong as a giant physically, but he 
invariably ''showed the white feather" in the hour 
of trial ; and when it was said of any one in that 
community, "He is as great a coward as Bob John- 
son," it was considered that depreciation could not 
go farther. When every one else volunteered, Bob 
followed their example — to the amusement of the 
whole town — and went off with Captain Skinner's 
company to join the 1st North Carolina Regiment. 
At the conclusion of the war only ten of the one 
hundred men who originally composed that com- 
pany returned to their homes, and Bob was among 
them, his body covered with scars, and carrying 
in his pocket a commission as "First Sergeant of 
Company A, 1st North Carolina Regiment." with 
a certificate from his colonel^ stating that he had 
been promoted for distinguished bravery on many 
battle-fields." When I questioned him in regard 
to his experience as a soldier, he told me that for 
the first year he was "frightened nearly to death 
whenever he heard a gun fired, but that afterward 
he "got used to the racket and came rather to like 

Returning to the school from which I have 
strolled into this long digression, I must tell you 
that it was what is termed a "Church School" — an 
institution in which religious instruction was given 
the most prominent place in the curriculum. The 
principal was a retired Episcopal minister^ and 
though as pure and good a man as ever lived, he 
was morbid on the subject of "converting" the 
boys under his charge. With the best possible in- 
tentions, he made the Bible and the church so dis- 
agreeable and irksome as to render them absolutely 
obnoxious to us. 

Besides, there was a theological seminary in 
the immediate neighborhood, the students of which 



regarded us as furnishing the subjects on which to 
exercise and perfect their faculty for saving souls — 
just as the Internes of hospitals use the sick and 
wounded under their charge to perfect their studies 
and to prepare themselves for their prospective 
professional work. As their religion was that 
gloomy and revolting kind which bases its exist- 
-ence upon the terrors of the law, breathes only an. 
atmosphere of fire and damnation, and makes its 
professors the embodiment of misery and despond- 
ency, you can well imagine what were the impres- 
sions made upon our youthful minds in regard to 
this vital subject. We were taught that the 
^slightest fun was a dreadful offense, an innocent jest 
a veritable profanation, a hearty laugh a real 
crime, and the slightest sigh or sign of weariness 
in the House of God — never mind how many times 
we were forced to enter or however long and boring 
the sermon might be — the "un])ardonable sin" for 
which the bottomless pit had been especially created 
and was held in certain reserve. 

Kach seminarian selected some hapless boy, and 
assumed, as it were, the responsibility of his salva- 
tion, praying over him, preaching to him, deluging 
him with '^tracts," and worrying the poor fellow 
out of his very life in the effort to ''turn him from 
the error of his ways" and "to save his soul 
alive," etc. 

It fell to my lot to be appropriated by a gentle- 
man somewhat advanced in years, as innocent as a 
babe, a martyr to chronic dyspepsia, and the type 
of a religion blacker than the hinges of Hades, and 
as cheerless as the tomb of a mummy. He was a 
pious man as he understood the term, but the very 
last one for the work for which he believed himself 
chosen. Some one else had been called when he 
responded, and his connection with the ministry 

72 A doctor's experiences 

was emphatically a case of mistaken identity. He 
may have found a resting place in Heaven, for he 
needed and deserved repose ; but had he labored 
eternally in his Master's vineyard his work would 
have had nothing to show for itself when the day 
of reckoning arrived. He was totally unfitted for 
his mission — for the high and holy calling to which 
he had consecrated his life — because of the inher- 
ent weakness of his physical organism and the mor- 
bid mental condition which long years of disease^ 
and insomnia had developed ; but, unconscious of 
his imperfections, he struggled bravely to prepare 
for the ministry, and deluding himself with dreams 
of the harvest of human souls which awaited his 
reaping, and the ''crown of glory" with which his 
labors were to be rewarded in the end. 

He certainly labored faithfully to keep my "feet 
in the right path," and despite my abhorrence of his 
religion, and the annoyance of his constant surveil- 
lance, I came to like the old man ; and when our 
intimacy terminated I missed him greatly, and 
often sighed for his companionship, his eternal 
prayers, and tuneless hymns, to the contrary not- 

As was his habit, he accompanied me on one of 
my Saturday excursions to Washington, ostensibly 
to see the sights of that great city, but really to 
keep me out of the snares which were spread for 
the unwary, and on our return he insisted that I 
should spend the night with him at the seminary 
■ — assured, as he said, that the principal would be 
content to have me do so. 

I yielded to his entreaties with reluctance, be- 
cause I was dreadfully fatigued and desired to re- 
tire without unnecessary delay either in scriptural 
reading or in prayer making. 

After a long grace and a poor sujiper we went 


up to his room, where he proposed prayers as a pre- 
liminary to retiring for the night. We knelt down 
reverently, and after reading some time from the 
prayer book, he started off upon an extemporaneous 
piayer, which he began with some excellent advice 
to the Good Lord respectins: the fall of Adam, and 
ended — when and where it is impossible for me to 
say, as, being completely overcome by fatigue, I 
fell asleep. How long I slept I have no means of 
determining. All I know is that after a while 
consciousness returned, and I found myself still 
upon my knees, the candle flickering in its socket, 
and my clerical friend in bed snoring loudly, 
''tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep" hav- 
ing overtaken him as he waited for the conclusion 
of my supposed devotions. I crept stealthily to 
bed, and when I awakened on the succeeding morn- 
ing, the good old man was standing at my bedside 
with upturned eyes and lifted arms, "thanking 
God,'' as he said, "for the answer which had come 
to his prayers, as manifested in the occurrence of 
the previous night, when a Christian hoy had found 
the strength to continue his prayers when he, a 
Christian man, had been compelled to give up from 
physical exhaustion, and retire to his bed and sleep. 
I made no comment, but dressed hurriedly, and after 
listening to' a 'long prayer from the theologian — 
which came near putting me to sleep again — bade 
adieu to my delighted host and returned to school. 
On the succeeding day the principal sent for me, 
told me of the flattering terms in which the semi- 
narian had spoken of my good conduct and great 
piety; gave me permission to "pass bounds" at 
discretion; off'ered his private study for my "daily 
devotions;" and from that time forward treated 
me v^^ith pre-eminent respect and consideration. I 
suppose it was my duty to explain, but these good 

*74 A doctor's EXPERIENCi^S 

Christians were made so happy at this practical 
proof of the success of their labors, and I was re- 
lieved from such an amount of persecution that I 
determined to preserve a judicious silence, and to 
let things take their natural course. 

I saw' but little of my friend, the seminarian, 
after this incident, although he continued to send 
''tracts" and to write letters — so as to confirm 
and strengthen my faith, as he expressed it — for, 
thinking his work completed so far as I w^as con- 
cerned, he devoted his time and talents to the con- 
version of another boy, and left me to my devotions. 

Was this an instance of the luck to wdiich I have 
referred, or was it a Providential interposition? 
Of one thing I am sure in this connection: had 
these persecutions continued they would have com- 
pletely destroyed the seeds of religion which my 
mother had sowm so carefully in my heart and left 
me utterly and hopelessly without faith of any de- 
scription. As it was, they were terribly blighted 
and it required many a long year of faithful nurs- 
ing by a tender and loving hand to revivify them. 

Let me ask you, my dear Doctor, bef )re proceed- 
ing with this history, how it is that such radical 
mistakes are made in the choice of professions? 
Take the ministry, for instance. Is there one 
preacher in a thousand wdio has any special fitness 
for his mission — who. was made for the pulpit ? Is 
it not only in exceptional instances that one is to be 
found who is anything more than a stumbling block 
in the path of humanity, or wdio does more than 
mechanically and monotonously point out the right 
path to sinners ? How many of the clergy can you 
name who in daily walk or in the discharge of their 
sacred trust are veritable exemplars of the creed 
w^hich they pretend to preach, and real followers of 
the Divinity whom they profess to worship? Take 


the medical profession as another illustration. 
Who of those who hold the degree can you vouch 
for as true physicians, genuine ministers of mercy, 
and real devotees of science ? How many are there 
to whom the practice of medicine is anything more 
than a matter of routine or a ladder for personal 
ambition ? How long is the list of those who seek 
to penetrate the surface of objective phenomena, to 
soar to the heights of discovery, and to w^rite their 
names upon the records of medicine and in the 
history of the age? Alas ! you know full well that 
but too many are satisfied with the merest smatter- 
ing of medical knowledge, content with the crudest 
washings from the mines of science, and aspire to 
nothing beyond the foot-prints of their predecessors, 
without giving a thought to the elevation of them- 
selves and the advancement of their profession ! 

One of the strangest things, too^ is the desire 
which medical men manifest to become teachers of 
medicine, while the intensity of this aspiration 
seems to have an inverse ratio to their ability to 
impart instruction. There seems to be a charm 
about the title of " Professor" which it is difficult 
for many physicians to resist, and they seek it with 
the rapacity of sharks in pursuit of their prey. I 
am sure these observations will immediately recall 
to your memory a mutual friend who once figured 
in this mistaken role. Of an unprepossessing ap- 
pearance ; wath a superciliousness almost unparal- 
leled; having a voice which resembled more that 
of a sick crow than of a human being ; imperfectly 
educated in all regards, but especially so in the 
branch which he represented, and without a single 
professional gift, or grace, or accomplishment, he 
gloried in his title, and imagined himself unrivaled 
as a lecturer. The style of his descent from his 
carriage, the ceremony of his entrance into the 

^76 A doctor's experiences 

lecture-room, and the pomposity of his performance 
on the rostrum, were a study in themselves, and 
would have lurnished a choice theme for the pen of 
a Dickens or a Thackeray. No man could have 
witnessed the fantastic performances of this '' great 
professor" without splitting his sides with laughter 
or garnering in his memory a perpetual source of 
diversion and amusement. In short, his manner 
and style were so unique, extraordinary, prepos- 
terous, and ridiculous as to transcend the power of 
words to describe or to perpetuate. For a while 
the students restrained their disgust and submitted 
unmurmuringly to his assumptions, but when they 
discovered that his examinations were as rigid as 
if he were really capable of imparting instruction — 
actually had a right to expect his hearers to know 
something of the subject, which his lecture only 
served to obscure and complicate — they perempto- 
rily refused to permit him to lecture. Whenever 
he presented himself, they overwhelmed him with 
applause, cheering and encoring him at the highest 
pitch of their voices, and drowning his every word 
in a tempest of noisy demonstrations. It was in 
vain that he tried first to cajole and then to threaten 
them — he was persistently received in the same way 
until mortified and beaten he was compelled to re- 
tire from the rostrum. The authorities of the 
College intervened without effect, and he finally 
came to me and earnestly solicited my assistance. 
Although I could but sympathize with the students, 
I felt that they were in the wrong — that they had 
taken the law into their own hands, and were in a 
state of actual rebellion — and I promised to inter- 
pose and to use my influence to relieve him from 
his painful dilemma. Oq the succeeding day I 
premised my lecture by saying : Gentlemen, I am 
sure you will admit that I have tried to do my duty 


as a professor in this school, and will recognize in 
me a friend to each and to all of you. 1 have then 
a favor to ask, and to reinforce it by what some 
might call a threat. I want you to promise me 
that you will permit the Professor of to con- 
tinue his lectures ; and as you desire the vote of 
the Professor of Surgery, I am confident you will 
not disturb him again." This was received with a 
round of applause, and I felt that I had won the day 
for my colleague — and such really proved to be the 
case, for he had no difficulty with the class from 
that time forward. Now, what do you suppose was 
my recompense for this friendly and successful in- 
tervention ? It was nothing less than the eternal 
hatred of him who had thus been saved from dis- 
grace and ruin. He affected to believe that I was 
the author of the conspiracy, and that the class had 
finally yielded against my real wishes^ influenced 
solely by the apprehension of losing so valued a 

Beware, my dear friend, of an inherent fool whose 
heart is surcharged with vanity, for of all men he 
is least to be trusted and the surest to prove un- 
grateful. Besides, I had rather rely upon the con- 
sideration of a rabid dog than the gratitude of a 
resuscitated viper. 

•78 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

Availing myself of the privilege secured by 
''early piety," as I have fully explained in a pre- 
ceding page of this narrative, I have indeed gone 
beyond ''school bounds" in the foregoing disserta- 
tion on human folly, incompetency, and ingrati- 
tude. I must beg you, therefore, to return with 
me to Fairfax, and to let rae talk again of my 
school days. 

I frequently visited a neighboring town in com- 
pany with Landon Eliason, a comrade over whose 
early grave I have since shed many a tear. His 
mother belonged to the Carter family, one of the 
oldest and best of the State, and she was as splen- 
did a specimen of womanhood as ever I met. 
Within her hospitable doors some of my happiest 
days were spent, and I can but speak of her with 
gratitude and pleasure. At that time she was liv- 
ing with her aged and infirm mother, dispensing 
that generous and genial hospitality for which her 
race had so long been distinguished, even in old 
Virginia. She had several sons, all remarkable 
for their personal beauty and accomplishments^ 
and it was ber delight to assemble the young peo- 
ple of the town under her roof for their entertain- 
ment and diversion. At one of these gatherings I 
met a beautiful girl, and fell in love with her — so 
desperately, in fact, that for many a long year she 


was the star that guided me and the divinity at 
whose shrioe I worshiped. 

Of sylph-like figure, as graceful as a fawn, with 
an eye in which the sunlight of Heaven was mir- 
rored, and a voice that was music idealized, she 
was the most consummate flirt that a southern sun 
ever developed. Every boy above sixteen loved 
her to distraction, and each believed himself the 
special object of her affections. To me she seemed 
a vision of perfect beauty — a glimpse of Paradise — 
a special revelation from Heaven — and I loved her 
with all the fervor and idolatry of an intensely po- 
etic and sensitive nature. 

I told you that she was inherently a flirt, and I 
will give you one of my reasons for believing so. One 
night Landon and I walked home with her, for 
friends as we were, neither had an idea of giving 
the other the slightest advantage so far as she was 
concerned. Seizing a favorable opportunity, I 
slipped iny hand within the muff which she car- 
ried, and after a brief interval I was delighted to 
touch a hand which closed upon mine responsively. 
For about three hundred yards of space, though it 
seemed but a single instant of time, I was the hap- 
piest of mortals, believing that while she talked to 
my friend in honeyed words, I held her hand in 
loving embrace and possessed her heart as well. 
Just as she reached her mother's door she held up 
her hands exultingly, and with the merriest laugh 
that ever broke the stillness of tlie solemn night, 
exclaimed: '^Well, young men, how do you like 
each other's hands?" ^vhen Landon and I discov- 
ered that we were " sold," for both of us had exe- 
cuted the same manoeuver as regards the muff', and 
we had been squeezing each other's hands instead 
of our sweetheart's for the entire distance. 

I returned to school in a dreadful state of mind 

80 A doctor's experiences 

— desperately in love and utterly despondent — 
and, without any previous knowledge of the pos- 
session of the ^'poetic gift," 1 wrote upon the 
blank page of the Livy that I pretended to study 
the following Byronic effusion : 

Oh ! for a drop from Lethe's stream 

That flo^Yed in days of yore — 
A drop to snatch me from this dream 

And make me love no more ; 
A drop from ^Memory's page to blot 

Each hne that's written there, 
A drop to make my future lot 

Oblivion — not despair. 

This depression was not of long duration. It 
was replaced, if not by a hopeful state of mind, at 
least by a determination to win the prize at all 
hazards, and without regard to the timerequiied 
for the task. A new life was born within me, and 
I became at once the most earnest and studious of 
boys. From that moment I stood at the head of my 
classes and carried off the highest marks in all the 
public examinations. My pride and ambition were 
stimulated to the highest degree and I determined 
to make a name for myself, not only in the little 
world of Clarens but in the grander arena of real 
life. Much of what I have accomplished since, ^t 
school, in the University^ and wherever my destiny 
has been cast, is due to the direct influence of the 
passion which this young girl inspired — to the as- 
piration to excel, the power of concentration, and 
the fixedness of j)nrpose which it developed within 

The finale of this affair is sufficiently interesting 
to bear relating. Six years afterward I found my- 
self at ^ en route to Philadelphia to complete 

my medical studies. I had made this long detour 
because I desired to hear from her who had so lonoj 



been the object of my idolatry, the words of cheer 
or of doom, which, as I then believed, would de- 
cide my fate forever. With trembling limbs and 
a beating heart I ascended the steps so familiar in 
the days of my boyhood, sent in my card, and was 
received by the young lady — as kindly as if I had 
been a long-absent brother, but with the assurance 
that I had loved, labored, and suffered in vain — 
that she did not love me, and could never be my 
wife. I said nothing, because I felt that if the 
long years through wdiich I had worshiped so per- 
sistently at the shrine of her beauty spoke nothing 
in my behalf, it was useless to utter a word of pro- 
test or appeal ; and I went on my way, feeling as 
every earnest and disappointed man does under 
such circumstances. I thought I saw a tear on her 
cheek as I left the room, but I did not linger to 
ask its meaning, or to contrast its significance with 
that of the emphatic language of her lips. And 
thus we parted, never to meet again — as I sup- 

After I had been in Philadelphia some ten days, 
I awakened one morning greatly impressed by a 
•dream. I dreamed that I had received a letter 
from my sweetheart, expressing at her con- 
duct and recalling me to her side ; and I remem- 
bered with distinctness alike the general tenor of 
this communication and its external appearance. 
I immediately awakened my room-mate, told him 
of my dream, and begged him to accompany me to 
the post office. He was utterly incredulous, but, 
being the best-hearted fellow in the world, he 
dressed quickly and went with me. In response 
to my inquiry, I was first told that there was " no 
letter for Dr. Edward Warren," but having im- 
portuned the agent to look for a letter addressed 
to ''Edward Warren, M. D.," he kindly did so, 

82 A doctor's experiences 

and handed me a letter exactly similar in appear- 
ance and in tenor to the one which I had seen in 
my dream. Without stopping to comment on this 
extraordinary occurrence — this singular realization 
of a dream — I will simply say that the next morn- 
ing found me in , the happiest of human be- 
ings in anticipation of the coming interview with 
the object upon w^hich the deepest lo\^e of my na- 
ture had been lavished for so many years. The 
hour arrived, and 1 was made supremely happy 
by the confession — seemingly made with entire 
frankness — that, from the first and throughout^ 
her heart had been wholly and exclusively mine. 
Oh, the rapture of love's young dream ! Oh, 
the bliss of love's first confession ! Life has nothing 
else comparable with it. 

" Devotion wafts the soul above, 
But Heaven itself descends in love." 

I returned to Philadelphia with perfect peace 
and joy reigning in my heart, prouder than the 
conqueror who sighed for new worlds over which to 
extend his dominion, and believing that my path- 
way was to be illuminated with perpetual sunshine 
and strewn with never-fading flowers. How beau- 
tiful everything appeared to me ! How kindly I 
felfc toward all mankind ! How faithfully I studied 
and tried to excel ! I poured out my feelings in a 
flood tide of impassioned letters ; I addressed son- 
nets innumerable to my lady love ; the mails 
groaned under the weight of the love tokens which 
I sent to my darling ; and I lived for weeks in a 
state of exaltation which approached to delirium. 
Suddenly, a cloud overspread the heaven which cano- 
pied the fairy land wherein I dwelt so happily, and 
filled it with darkness and my very soul with ter- 
ror. The missives which had been my daily solace 


and inspiration came no more ; and I was plunged 
into a slough of doubt and apprehension. It was 
in vain that I invoked every conceivable means to 
obtain a solution of the mystery — only the simple 
fact remained that she wrote no more and that I 
was miserable because of her silence. So soon as 
the examinations were over, without waiting for 
commencement- day and the distribution of di- 
plomas, I started for Washington, having dis- 
covered by the merest accident that she was stay- 
ing there with some relatives. I saw her and 
heard from her own lips the strange and inexplicable 
announcement that she was " engaged to another 
and intended soon to marry him.'' She, in fact, had 
been engaged to him for many months, even when 
she recalled me and promised to be my wife; and 
she did marry him within a few weeks after our final 
interview. I demanded no explanation ; I spoke 
not an upbraiding word ; and I left her as quietly 
as if she were only a casual acquaintance, and had 
never held my heart-strings in her hands ; for the 
confession that she loved another eradicated in- 
stantaneously and eternally every element of the 
love which I had cherished for her. As if by 
magic the words so lightly spoken extinguished 
the grand passion which for so many years had 
been the controlling power of my being. Such is 
the potency of pride when once it is thoroughly 
aroused in the human heart — or at least in one 
like mine. She married a good man, with a great 
name, and I hope and believe that she was happy 
in her wedded life. 

I now realize it was ''all for the best," while 
the influence of the passion which she inspired 
helped to develop my character, and to impart 
vitality to the ambition which has given a com- 
plexion and a direction to my entire life. 

S4: A doctor's experiexces 

Speaking of ambition — the desire to excel, and 
lo have that excellence recognized and rewarded — 
reminds me of how often you have chaifed me for 
being so much engrossed by that passion, and have 
ui'ged me to put it away. It also recalls what my 
friend, Governor Vance, once said in this connec- 
tion. When I w^as promoted by the Legislature of 
North Carolina to the rank of " brigadier-general " 
as a special reward for my services as surgeon-gen- 
eral of the State, some one asked the Govei^nor if 
he thought I would accept the promotion in view of 
the report which was then in circulation that all 
persons holding the rank of general were to be 
shot in the event of the failure of the Confeder- 
acy? " Well," said he, '' I know Warren as well 
as the next man, and I can tell you this about 
him ; he would take the rank of brigadier-general 
with the chalice of being shot on account of it at 
the end of the war, but he would accept the rank 
of major-general with the certainty of being shut 
for it to-morrow." I have lived long enough to 
appreciate the folly of a sentiment which carries 
with it so much of unrest and anxiety in any 
■event, and to wish from the bottom of my heart 
that I had been content to spend my days in bliss- 
ful ease under the elms of old Edenton, instead of 
chasing an empty shadow around the world. Few 
men, it is true, have reaped a larger harvest of 
what the world calls honors — pardon the seeming 
egotism of the assertion — and yet there lives not a 
being who has grown more indiiferent to them. 

My expei-ience at the "final examination" at 
Clarens is especially apropos in this connection. 

With one of my teachers I was never on good 
terms, our want of fellowship being based upon 
that inherent repulsion which plays so important a 
Tolem human association. I had no idea, how- 


ever, of his malignity until the occasion to which 
I refer. There chanced to be only one problem in 
geometry which I was not master of, and, on the 
night preceding the public examination at the close 
of the session I told him of this fact, and re- 
quested him to question me on any other rather 
than on that one. He smiled, and said he would 
remember my request, which T interpreted to 
mean that he would respect it and act fairly with 

On the succeeding day, with the house filled 
with ladies and gentlemen — including the prin- 
cipal and his family, the entire corps of teachers, 
the students of the seminary, and many other 
prominent persons — he called up the class in geom- 
etry. After having read out the " marks " show- 
ing the standing of the students for the entire ses- 
sion, and of which I had by far the highest num- 
ber, he examined us orally in the strictest manner, 
and then sent three of us at the same time to the 
blackboard. To my utter surprise and indigna- 
tion, he gave me for demonstration the very prob- 
lem which I did not understand, and concerning 
which I had spoken to him on the previous even- 
ing. Here was a dilemma indeed ! I could not 
demonstrate it, and I felt that I had rather die than 
fail, as this villainous teacher had so cunningly 
planned. But I baffled him, nevertheless, by 
doing that which I considered justifiable under the 
circumstances While his attention was directed 
to the others, I very quietly took another problem, 
drew the diagram with great care, and turning to 
the principal asked permission to demonstrate to 
him, and proceeded to do so as perfectly as it could 
be done. The teacher was too much taken by sur- 
prise to interrupt me, but, when my work was 
done, he remarked to the principal, " I shall mark 

86 , A doctor's experiences 

Edward Warren zero for bis demonstration," and 
then dismissed us, perfectly beside himself with 
rage. The moment the examination w^as over, I 
sought an interview with the principal, told him 
the whole story, and asked his forgiveness. After 
a sharp lecture he did forgive me, restored my 
standing, and refused to employ the teacher for 
another session — telling him that though my 
course was wrong, his was absolutely wicked. 
Some years afterward I met this wretch, and 
though he had become a minister of the gospel 
and tried to be very friendly, I turned my back 
upon him in absolute contempt and disgust. 

Among my schoolmates were several who have 
since made their mark in life, notably Custis Lee 
and Beverly Ke/Unon, both of whom have shown 
themselves men of character and talent. 

Despite the overdose of religion, the peculiar 
punishment of denying coffee to those who were 
late at prayers, the hostility displayed by the 
teacher at my last examination, and sundry other 
petty annoyances, my school days at Clarens passed 
pleasantly enough, and the dear old place has re- 
mained a "green spot" in my memory through- 
out the long years which have passed since I left 
its friendly portals to take my chance in life. 

An examination of the map of North Carolina 
will show 3^ou that there is a narrow strip of land 
interposed between the sounds and the ocean along 
its entire coast line. This strip varies from one to 
two miles in width, and is composed almost exclu- 
sively of sand, which forms itself into hills and 
ridges that continually change their form and po- 
sition under the influence of the prevailing winds. 
That portion of this sand-belt immediately oppo- 
site Hoanoke Island is known as "Nag's Head," 
and it has long been a favorite resort of the inhab- 


itants of the Albemarle region, who visit it during 
the summer months to escape the greater heat and 
the more potent malaria of the interior. 

My fatsher owned a cottage there, and I spent 
my vacation in it — and a delightful one it was. 
Nag's Head derives its name, according to tradi- 
tion, from the habit which an old wrecker had of 
tying a lantern to the head of his lame mare, and 
then leading her along the shore on dark and 
stormy nights, so as to allure ships to their doom 
by conveying the idea that some other craft was 
sailing in safety nearer shore. These wreckers 
were a desperate set of men, and they lived exclu- 
sively on the spoils of the deep — that is, by the 
robbery of drowning sailors and the pillage of dis- 
abled ships. 

Among the most prominent of these ^4and pi- 
rates" was a certain Parson Midgett, who resided 
near Nag's Head, and prided himself equally on 
his success in bringing sinners to repentance and 
his skill in running ships ashore, with the pious 
purpose of drowning their crew and of appropriat- 
ing their cargoes. One Sunday — so the story goes 
— he was rejoicing in the presence of a large and 
enthused congregation, in ''anxious benches" 
filled with stricken ''mourners," and in the work 
of salvation which was progressing "like a house 
afire." Just as his religious zeal had reached its 
acme there was an announcement of "a wreck on 
Kitty Hawk Beach," and the whole assembly 
arose and made a rush for the scene of disaster, 
expecting to reap there a welcomed harvest. With 
stentorian voice^ and in the name of the Deity, the 
preacher commanded a "halt," and forced the 
brethren to resume their seats. Then, descending 
with measured tread from the pulpit, and march- 
ing solemnly down the aisle, with hands uplifted 

88 A doctor's experiences 

and eyes turned heavenward, and the most fiery of 
his hymns swelling in thunder tones from his lips, 
he finally reached the door, when he cried out: 
"Fair play, fair play, sisters and brethren; let us 
have a fair start; ' and he rushed off at full speed 
for the wreck, leaving his deluded flock to catchup 
with him if they could. 

A new civilization has dawned upon these once 
benipjhted shores, and the haunts of the "wreck- 
ers" have been transformed into "life-saving sta- 
tions," from which friendly beacons and succoring 
hands greet the strusrslins: mariners, while Mid- 
gett and his band have been exiled to a warmer if 
not a better country. 

I found this spot a perfect paradise for the gun - 
ner and the fisherman, and I enjoyed its charms 
with all the greater zest because of the hard work 
which I had done at school in preparing myself for 

In company with my eldest sister, and in the 
horse-cart — which was the only vehicle possible in 
the sands — I wandered over the face of creation, 
explored every hill and valley and creek and bay 
of the Head, collecting shells, plucking flowers, 
gathering grapes, picking chincapins, shooting 
birds, catching fish, watching the angry breakers, 
building castles in the air, forgetful that care ex- 
isted or that there was any land save Eutopia. 

In returning to Edenton after the war, the 
steamer on which I was a passenger stopped at 
Eoanoke Island, and turning toward the opposite 
shore I searched for the old landmarks and habita- 
tions of what was once Nag's Head. But the 
search was a vain one — I could not find a vestige 
of the once familiar objects, and everything looked 
wild and drear and curious there. The ever-rest- 
less sands had buried every trace of the verdure 


which once stood out so conspicuously in the snowy 
landscape, and had arranged themselves into new 
and strange combinations of hills and plains and 
valleys, totally changing the aspect of the place. 
The houses, within the friendly walls of which so 
many hours had been passed in brighter times, had 
disappeared entirely, having succumbed to the 
storms which had swept over them for a decade or 
having furnished materials for the huts which the 
fugitive negroes built elsewhere during the war. 

Such a transformation, in truth, had been wrought 
by the conjoint agency of the elements and the hand 
of vandalism that I should never have recognized 
the summer home of my boyhood ; and such a scene 
of desolation and barrenness presented itself to my 
view as I never conceived of before, and never saw 
afterward until my lot was cast amid the sands of 
the desert. 

I was sad enough already, for in the wreck of the 
•' lost cause" I had seen every trace of my property 
disappear, and the plans and the hopes of a life- 
time blasted, but, when I beheld the utter ruin 
which had befallen Nag's Head — the complete de- 
struction which had overtaken a spot with which 
so many cherished memories were associated — I 
broke down entirely, and, retiring to my cabin, I 
spent the day in tears and solitude, feeling, indeed, 

" Like one who treads alone 
Some banquet hall deserted, 
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead, 
And all but me departed." 

I have since learned that, with the financial re- 
cuperation of that section, a day of renewed pros- 
perity has dawned upon Nag's Head, and that it 
has again become a resort for crowds of visitors as 
gay and as joyous even as those who frequented it 

90 A doctor's experiences 

in other days. How I should like once more to 
gather shells upon its beautiful beach, to feel its 
refreshing breezes on my brow, and to hear its 
breakers roar, as in the olden time! 




My Dear Doctor : 

I had intended to go with Landon Eliason and 
other classmates to Princeton, but my father was 
too ardent a Virginian to permit me to matriculate 
in any other college than the university of his na- 
tive State. 

In those days the railroad from Richmond ran 
only as far as Gordonsville, and the remainder of 
the journey had to be accomplished in a stage coach. 
I came very near never accomplishing it at all ; for, 
on reaching Gordonsville, the germs of malaria 
which I had absorbed in my rambles by the sea 
developed into a full-blown "remittent fever/' and 
for several days I lay there hovering between life 
and death. One of my old schoolmates whom I 
had met en route shamefully abandoned me, but a 
negro connected with the hotel nursed me with 
great tenderness, and really saved my life. I was 
too ill to ask for a doctor, and nobody seemed to 
think of sending for one, so my constitution had to 
fight it out with the disease, and finally won the 
day, but I was left in a state of great physical weak- 
ness and mental depression. In all previous attacks 
of sickness I had my father's skill and my mother's 
tenderness to rely upon, and I had no conception 
of what it was to suffer in solitude and among 
strangers. The lesson taught me was a hard one, 
and I could not forget it were I to live to the age 
of Methuselah. 

92 A doctor's experiences 

So soon as it became practicable I had myself 
lifted into the stage-coach and carried to the Uni- 
versity. The effort proved too much, however, for 
my strength, and immediately on my arrival I ex- 
perienced a relapse, and had a repetition of my 
experiences at Gordonsville. It was many weeks 
before I could commence my studies, and when 1 
did so, the class had already gone over so much 
ground that the session was practically lost to me 
— much to my humiliation and detriment. During 
the whole of this painful period I did not com- 
municate to my friends at home a single fact relat- 
ing to my illness, but on the contrary I wrote them 
cheerful and hopeful letters, in order to save them 
the pain and anxiety which a true statement of the 
case would have occasioned. 

In this I made a great mistake, for when I re- 
turned to Edenton in the succeeding summer I 
looked so thin and wretched that my parents were 
shocked and distressed immeasureably. Besides, 
my father had expected such great things in the way 
of scholastic honors from my habits of study and my 
ambition to excel, that he could not help feeling 
disappointed — the more >so as I had not prepared 
him for mv failure. The s^ood old man actuallv 
shed tears when he subsequently read over the list 
of the ''distinguished," and found that my name, 
which he had expected to see at the head of the 
" roll of honor," did not appear in it at all. 

The previous session had been an exciting and 
memorable one. A party of students having im- 
bibed rather freely before visiting a traveling 
menagerie and circus, provoked an encounter with 
the company, which proved most disastrous. See- 
ing that those who commenced the difficulty were 
getting the worst of it, their comrades, though in 
no way responsible for the affray, went to their as- 


sistance, with the result of a general fight of the 
most savage character. The students were un- 
armed, while the men of the menagerie pulled up 
the stakes surrounding the ring, and used them 
with terrific effect. A number of students were 
severely wounded, and young Glover, of Georgia, 
Avas killed outright. This unfortunate youth was 
one of the most respected members of the college, 
and had joined in the melee exclusively from an 
esjyrit de corps. So soon as the intelligence of this 
«ad event reached the University the great bell 
was rung, the whole body of students assembled 
upon the lawn, and a resolution was taken to 
march immediatply to Charlottesville, and to 
avenge their murdered comrade. The rumor of 
their approach preceded them, and when they ar- 
rived at the scene of the disturbance the showmen 
had fled, leaving their tents and wagons behind 
them. In a state of the wildest excitement the 
students took measures at once to destroy the 
abandoned property, and to pursu8 its owners so as 
to bring them to summary justice. At this junc- 
ture the civil authorities intervened, and by dint 
of much persuasion, and a promise to take imme- 
diate steps to arrest the fugitives and to have them 
duly tried, they succeeded in inducing the students 
to return to their quarters and to let the law have 
its course. I am sorry to say, however, that 
though the culprits were captured^ confined in jail, 
and finally tried, they escaped punishment, be- 
cause of the difficulty of identifying the man who 
struck the fatal blow. The remains of poor Glover 
were conveyed to college and deposited in the 
University burying ground, where a beautiful 
monument was erected over them. It was said 
that the only weapon which the students possessed 
was a pistol which some one placed in the hands 

94 A doctor's experiences 

of Jack Seddorij a brother of the Hon. James A. 
Secldori, late Confederate Secretary of War, and a 
cousin of mine. Instead of discharging it, he, with 
^reat presence of mind, used it to menace the in- 
furiated showmen while he rescued in turn three 
wounded students and brought them out in safety. 

Sad as was this event, a story is told of one of 
the principal parties concerned in the light which 
I have never been able to think of without laugh- 
ing heartily. It seems that the most drunken man 
in the crowd which commenced the affray was re- 
turning to the University with some of his com- 
rades when he suddenly commenced to wail and 
weep as if he were in great agony. His friends at 
first thought that he was suffering from the pain 
of his wounds, and they tried to console him in 
that regard ; but he answered nothing and went 
on with his crying. They then concluded that he 
was grieving over the death of Glover and his in- 
direct agency in producing it, and they endeavored 
to relieve his mind as far as they could on. that 
point, but with no better success ; he still refused 
to explain, and continued to weep as if his heart 
would break. Finally, one of his comrades having 
grown weary with the pertinacity of his lamenta- 
tions, shook him by the shoulder, and demanded : 
"What the h — 1 are you crying about?" This 
seemed to arouse him to a consciousness of his sur- 
roundings, and he stopped abruptly and said: ''You 
are all wrong, boys. I ani not crying on account 
of my wounds or even over poor Glover's death ; I 
am not thinking of those things now ; but my 
heart is just broken over the mortifying reflection 
that the rascals beat jiie — a Smith of Virginia — 
with the stick they stirred the monkeys up with." 

That summer was, indeed, a disastrous one. 
We were hardly settled in our cottage by the sea 


before we were visited by a fearful cyclone. For 
about six hours the hurricane raged from the direc- 
tion of the sea, breaking every pane of glass on the 
exposed side of the house, deluging us with water, 
and threatening at every moment to level the frail 
structure to the ground. It then veered round 
and blew with equal fury from the opposite quar- 
ter, sweeping away the windows that remained, 
nearly drowning us again, and shaking the house 
from roof to foundation. My father had remained 
at home, and it fell to my lot to take charge of the 
family during these long hours of fright and peril. 
With the help of the servants, I moved the beds to 
positions of comparative safet^y , placed my mother 
and the children upon them, and then hung blankets 
and counterpanes above and around them. I like- 
wise nailed similar articles over the dilapidated 
windows, swept away the water which flooded the 
house, placed all the provisions under the beds, 
and played the role generally of a skipper on ship- 
board, and in a very frail craft besides. 

When the wind blew from the direction of the 
sound, the tide in a few moments attained a height 
of sixty feet — reaching nearly to the summit of the 
sand hill on which the house was built — and pre- 
sented a new danger in the threatened overflow of 
the entire sand belt which separates the sound and 
the sea. Fortunately, the wind abated before the 
catastrophe was consuai mated, and we breathed 
freely again, but with a full realization of the dan- 
ger from which we had so narrowly and providen- 
tially escaped. 

In the midst of the great peril of the situation, 
it was impossible to avoid an intense interest in the 
fate of a number of ships which during the first 
hours of the cyclone were driven toward the 
land — the "lee shore" of the mariner's vocabulary. 

96 A doctor's experiences 

Most of them were fortunate enough to escape the 
danger, but several became involved in the breakers 
and were wrecked on the sands. 

Some lives were lost, and the beach was strewn 
with wreckage, while in the way of salvage and 
loot the natives gathered an abundant harvest. 

My eldest sister was just eighteen that summer, 
and few lovelier girls had ever been reared in Caro- 
lina. She was universally esteemed not less for 
her personal charms than for the loveliness of her 
disposition. Those soft gray eyes of hers mirrored 
a soul which was the home of the tenderest, gentlest, 
and noblest sentiments. With her, religion seemed 
to be an instinctive sentiment, directing and hal- 
lowing her every thought and act, and spreading 
perpetual sunshine around her pathway. 

We were reared together, and during her entire 
life I never knew her to give way to the slightest 
manifestation of anger or to speak an unkind word 
or to think for a single moment of her own pleasure 
until she had first secured that of others. Indeed, 
she not only had the face of a Madonna, but the 
guilelessness and the gentleness of an angel from 

It was her misfortune to love a man of splendid 
genius and of the highest character, but with the 
taint of madness in his blood, and though my 
father adored his daughter, he regarded it as an 
imperative duty to forbid their union. The poor 
girl yielded to his wishes, but she could not eradi- 
cate the fatal passion from her heart, and she sank 
into a state of the most profound melancholy and 
depression. Unfortunately, she was seized just at 
that critical time with malarial fever, and died of 
a congestive chill on the third day of her illness. 

I remember her death-bed as distinctly as if I 
had seen it but yesterday, though nearly forty years 


have elapsed since I stood beside it, and saw those 
beautiful eyes close forever. 

What a terrible thing is death ! How the sun 
darkens and the moon pales and the flowers fade 
and life loses its charm under the blight of its 
presence ! And then after the first shock of agony 
is over, and the full reality of loss and separation 
comes, what a dreary pall overspreads existence, 
and how utterly empty and worthless the world 
and even heaven seem ! 

She was near my own age, and she had been the 
companion of my entire life ; I had no thought or 
aspiration to which she was a stranger ; and when 
I saw her put away in the cheerless earth my heart 
felt a pang which rent its every fiber, and left a 
wound which has not healed though nearly half a 
century has poured its balm upon it. 

My parents were utterly crushed by this blow, 
together with the painful circumstances surround- 
ing it, and our once happy home was transformsd 
into a scene of mourning and an abode of sorrow. 
We carried her remains to Edenton and buried them 
in the churchj^ard of old St. Paul's, among the 
friends of her childhood, where we all then hoped 
to sleep when '' the last of earth" had come, never 
dreaming that our paths were to separate so widely, 
and that our bodies were to be scattered to the 
winds of heaven. How little do we know of the 
future, even as it relates to the locality of a final 
resting place ! Of those who have borne my father's 
name, one sleeps upon the banks of the James, 
another 'mid the sands of the desert, another in the 
historic soil of St. Germain, and still another be- 
neath the elms of Greenmount, while fate has or- 
dained that none of those who loved her so tenderly 
shall rest by her side, in the old graveyard at 

98' A doctor's experiences 

During this dreary season I received a letter fiom 
the editors of ''The University Magazine," the 
organ of the literary societies of the institution, 
asking a contribution from my pen for the number 
which was to appear with the opening of the ses- 
sion. I therefore remounted my Pegasus, and at- 
tempted to soar to the realms of poesy. 

That had been the ''great battle summer," when 
revolutions in the name of liberty had been at- 
tempted in nearly all of the countries of Europe, 
and the names of O'Brien, Kossuth, Bern, and of 
the whole "^ army of martyrs" were upon every 

I reproduce the verses from memory, and you 
must take them for "what they are worth." 

The Ijanner of freedom is trailing, 

The heroe.-^ who bore it are slain, 
And the hearts of patriots failing, 

Despair of its waving again ; 
For the hojies which told of a morrow, 

Untainted by tyranny's breath, 
Have proved only beacons of sorrow. 

Alluring to exile or death. 

Tho' loud shouts of gladness are ringing 

Throughout the green valleys of Gaul, 
And pagans her children are singing 

O'er royalty's terrible fall ; 
Tho' cover'd with undying glory. 

The land of the '* vine and the dance," 
Oppression still revels all gory, 

In the heart of beautiful France. 

And thou, brightest gem of the ocean ! 

Where now is thy patriot son ? 
What palm has his noble devotion 

To thee and to liberty won ? 
With fetters, alas ! they have bound him 

In a dungeon, far over the sea, 
But, heedless of shackles around him, 

He weeps only, Erin, for thee ! 



Novv^ Niobe's pulses are leaping, 

With visions of glory once more ; 
And hushed is the voice of weeping, 

On her classic but desolate shore. 
Alas! the bright dream is as fleeting' 

As the foam on the crest of the surge, 
And the shock of Republicans meeting, 

Is fair freedom's expiring dirge. 

Again that proud banner is streaming 

From Hungary's mountains of snow, 
And gaily are all its folds gleaming 

With a bright but transient glow ; 
For fiercely the Black Eagle swooping, 

A cloud o'er its brilliancy flings. 
And leaves it, all tattered and dropping, 

'Neath the blow of its powerful wings. 

For freedom the Magyars have striven, 

Tho' bravely, alas ! but in vain, 
For round them, still firm and unriven, 

Are the links of a festering chain ; 
But the page that's brightest in story 

Will tell what their courage has done, 
While onward, in grandeur and glory, 

Marches ever yon radiant sun. 

Tho' tyranny's bosom be heaving 

With joy at the victory won. 
Still fame a green chaplet is weaving 

To bind round each patriot son ; 
Tho' clouds of misfortune may lower 

O'er Kossuth and chivalrous Bem, 
Yet their deeds will like monuments tower, 

In honor immortal of them. ^ 

No, never were richer oblations 

Yet offered on altar or shrine. 
Than the blood which these val'rous nations. 

Fair freedom ! have lavished on thine ; 
And the din of the mighty commotion, 

When the standard of liberty fell. 
Will roll o'er eternity's ocean. 

Like the toll of a funeral bell. 

I turn from these pictures of sadness. 

My country ! once more unto thee. 
And hail with ineffable gladness 

The home of the just and the free ! 

100 A doctor's experiences 

The land of the true and undaunted, 

AVhose soil no tyrant has trod ; 
The refuge of nations, anointed 

By the hands of a merciful God ! ' 

Though these lines are not poetry, they struck 
the fancy of the college boys, especiall}'' as they 
were in accord with the spirit of the times. 

This gave me a good start for that session, and 
despite my depression of spirits and an occasional 
attack of malarial fever, I did well also in all of my 

The chair of mental and moral philosophy was 
filled at that time by Dr. Wm. H. McGuffy, a 
good man and an able teacher. Although not an 
orator in the highest signification of that term, yet 
as a lecturer he was clear, concise, and convincing 
to a remarkable degree ; and I feel under the 
greatest possible obligation to him, for he did more 
to develop my mind and to mold my character 
than all other professors combined. He found me 
a boy in all regards, and he made me a man, in- 
tellectually and morally. He taught me how to 
think and to utilize my powers and acquire- 
ments, while he inspired my heart with pure 
thoughts and sound principles. He never preached 
in the lecture-room or worried himself over the 
conversion of his students, but he inculcated, with 
infinite judgment^ a deep and broad Christian 
philosophy as a rule of conduct and a chart for 
life. I am confident that by his marvelous tact 
and sound reasoning he did more to counteract in- 
fidel tendencies and to sow the seeds oF sound ethi- 
cal views than all the canting seminarians together. 

With rare penetration he at once detected the 
intellectual and moral peculiarities of each of his 
students, and adroitly applied himself to the task 
of cultivating or of pruning, as the special case re- 


quired. His delight was to take a man ''^una- 
wares" — as the boys expressed it — and thus to 
test both caliber and acquirements. One day, 
when I had to plead ^'unprepared on account of 
sickness " — for I had actually been too ill to attend 
lectures or to engage in study — he said: "Never 
mind about that ; I will try you on general prin- 
ciples/' and deliberately "put me through " on 
some of the most difficult problems of "Butler's 
Analogy." He was brimful of fun as well, and 
never permitted an opportunity to pass without 
having his little joke ; but he invariably managed 
to draw out of it something of practical benefit to 
the class. One of his students — a great fool and a 
very pedantic one — always answered the Doctor's 
questions with much verbosity and a great affecta- 
tion of knowledge. On a certain occasion he 
called up this Mr. G., and propounded some sim- 
ple question, when the idiot, placing either thumb 
in the arm-holes of his vest and throwing his head 
back like a peacock on parade, jDroceeded to give a 
lengthy and flourishing answer, wdiich concluded 
with the words "and so forth." The Doctor list- 
ened attentively to the end of the chapter, and 
then very quietly remarked: "Well, sir, all of 
that may be true, though it is beyond my com 
prehension, but the proper answer to the ques- 
tion is included in the last words of your discourse, 
the ^^ and so forth. ^' Our peacock was never so 
voluminous or magnificent afterward, and I ob- 
served that his name did not figure in the list of 
graduates of the school of mental and moral phi- 

Just a week previous to the final examination 1 
w^as seized with an attack of malarial fever, which, 
as it precluded a review ot the course, rendered, as 
1 supposed^ my graduation an impossibility. The 

102 A doctor's experiences 

night before the day of trial I visited the Doctor, 
and told him that I felt compelled to '' withdraw" 
for the reason given. In a moment he made me 
very happy by saying : "No, sir ; don't think of 
it. 1 shall graduate yon on your general stand- 
ing in the class, for you have received the ^ max- 
imum mark' for every recitation during the entire 
session. I shall not, therefore, take into consider- 
ation the ^ written examination ' of to-morrow, in 
deciding the question of your graduation." I 
went into the examination room with a light heart, 
but I did my level best to answer the questious 
proposed, and I had the gratification of learning 
afterward that I received the '' hiodiest mark" for 

This great and good man has gone to his re- 
ward, which has assuredly been that of the right- 
eous, as he did his duty faithfully and well in all 
relations. Peace be to his ashes and honor to his 
memory ! His proudest monument is the success 
which has been achieved by those who listened to 
his instructions — by those who, by remembering his 
teaching and followinf^ his example, have come out 
victors in the battle of life. 

It is a source of pride and satisfaction to remem- 
ber that I, too, '' sat at the feet of Gamaliel." 

One of the most charming men in the faculty 
was the professor of modern languages. Dr. Scheie 
de Vere. Being a foreigner, and having manj^ of 
the peculiarities of his native country, it was a long- 
time before he could establish agreeable relations 
with the students. His strange accent ; the curious 
blunders of language which every man '' not to 
the manner born" must necessarily make in lectur- 
ing in an alien tongue ; the ultra' style of his 
clothes, and the thousand odd conceits which he 
displayed in as many connections, made him for 


years distasteful to the boys and the object of 
their perpetual ridicule. But, after a while^ he be- 
came more acclimated — less eccentric in language, 
manner, dress, and general deportment — and an 
opportunity was furnished for a better comprehen- 
sion of him, both as a man and as a professor, with 
the result of showing him to be an accomplished 
scholar, an admirable teacher, and one of the 
kindest and most genial of men. I always liked 
and admired him, and after I had become a gradu- 
ate of his school and we met on more even terms 
our relations culminated in a w^arm and enduring 
friendship. He still lives, an honor to the school, 
an ornament to society, a valued worker in the 
field of literature, and the object of great affection 
among the students and alumni of the University. 

The most noted man of the faculty was the late 
William B Rogers. As a philosopher, a scientist, 
a lecturer, and a gentleman, the countr}- has not 
produced his superior. He 'occupied the chair of 
natural philosophy, and his lectures were models 
alike of eloquence and of scientific merit. He 
certainly was the most dramatic and impressive 
man I ever saw in the lecture room, as well as the 
most attractive and entertaining. Grenius was 
written in unmistakable characters upon his brow; 
eloquence flowed in a copious and unbroken stream 
from his lips ; grace showed itself in every line 
and movement of his spare but symmetrical figure^ 
and it was impossible to see or to hear him without 
realizing the presence of a man upon whom nature 
had lavished her choicest gifts. 

Having carried a letter of introduction to him 
from my relative. Dr. Thomas D. Warren, who 
had known him at Williamsburg, where his first 
laurels were won, he showed me great kindness and 
consideration. I recall with pleasure an instance 

104 A doctor's experiences 

in which he especially treated me as a friend and a 
gentleman. One night I was visiting Dick Syl- 
vester — who died of yellow fever at Norfolk in 
1855 — when a cry of "fire" was raised on the 
eastern range. We immediately rushed to the 
scene of the conflagration, as did every student in 
the vicinity, and on arriving there we found that 
some drunken fellows had collected all the gates 
which they could detach from their hinges, and 
had made a bonfire of them. As the night was 
cold, and I had just left a heated room, I naturally 
turned up the collar of my coat for warmth and 
protection. You can imagine my surprise and in- 
dignation when I learned some days subsequently 
that an officer of the college had formally reported 
me as '' one of the gate burners," upon the ground 
that I had been seen at the fire " in disguise." 

I could scarcely believe that so great a wrong 
had been perpetrated, and I went immediately to 
the officer in question, and demanded to know 
whether or not he had made such a report. To 
my surprise, he answered angrily and brutally that 
he had " made such a report, and was responsible 
for it." My first impulse was to resent his arro- 
gance and injustice in a very decided manner, but 
I contented myself with pi'onouncing the report a 
falsehood^ and the assurance that I would "not 
submit tamely to such an outrage." 

I then sought the dean, who was Prof. Rogers, 
told him the story, and demanded the most search- 
ing investigation. He patted me kindly upon the 
shoulder, and said in that bland and charming 
way which distinguished him: " Restrain your ex- 
citement, my young friend. I threw the report 
in the fire as soon as it was received and said noth- 
ing to the faculty about it, because from my 
knowledge of your character I was certain that it 


could not be true. Now, I shall call upon the in- 
former either to apologize or to leave." He did 
as he promised, and the apology was duly made, 
but I recognized that I had made an enemy and 
a malignant one from that time forward. I simply 
defied him, however, and left him to make what 
discoveries and reports he could during my connec- 
tion with'the college.. 




My Dear Doctor : 

I joined the Jefferson Society, which was then 
the largest and most respectable in the University, 
and I took great pleasure in listening to and par- 
ticipating in its debates. Its annual celebration 
was held on the 13th of April, and consisted in 
the reading of the ''Declaration of Independence," 
preceded by brief introductory remarks, and in the 
delivery of an oration. I had the satisfaction of 
being elected "reader" for this session — which 
was considered one of the honors of college and was 
much sought after. I cannot recall what I had to 
say on that occasion or even who delivered the ora- 
tion. I only know that our friends — according to 
immemorial usage — complimented us on the suc- 
cess of our respective efforts, and that we were very 
proud of being en vue at the time. I am proud 
also to say that I had subsequently the honor of 
filling its presidential chair, and of delivering its 
valedictory oration — but of this I shall speak more 
fully hereafter. 

After my second session at the^ University I 
spent a year at home, engaged nominally in the 
study of medicine, but really in regretting the cir- 
cumstances which constrained me to adopt it as a 

These circumstances will be made more clear to 
your mind after you have read attentively the fol- 


lo win 2: substance of a conversation which occurred 
between my father and myself at the time. 

Father: ^' You did well at the University, Ed- 
ward, and I am delighted with your success there. 
You have reached an age when you should com- 
mence the study of your profession, and after you 
have had a holiday and have rested thoroughly, you 
must go regularly to work and prepare j^ourself to 
help me. All the necessary books are in my library, 
and I shall take pleasure in pointing out a course 
of study for you. What do you say to it?" 

Son: ^'I am ready to begin my professional 
studies to-morrow, but I did not know that you 
were the possessor of any law books, father, or that 
yon could indicate a course of Ugal study." 

Father: "What do you mean? Study law! 
Why, T have intended that you should be a doctor 
froiH the clay you were born. It has been the 
dream and purpose of my life to have you assist 
and afterward succeed me in my professional "work. 
I cannot consent to your becoming a lawyer ; it 
Avould break my heart." 

Son: " Please don't put it in that way. I love 
you too dearly to annoy or displease you. I would 
be a blacksmith or anything else if you really de- 
sired it and had set your heart on it ; but I must 
tell you frankly that I have no taste for medicine, 
and that the first wish of my heart is to study law. ' ' 

Father: " Don't like medicine? What has pre- 
judiced you against it?" 

Son : "I am prejudiced against it, and I would 
rather go into the fields and hoe corn than become 
a doctor." , 

Father: ''You amaze me, Edward. What has 
prejudiced you against medicine? What are your 
reasons for wishing to repudiate it and thereby to 
pain me?" 

108 A doctor's experiences 

Son: "I would not distress you for Mr. John- 
stone's fortune. I will be or rather try to be what- 
ever you propose — whatever will conduce to your 
happiness. Make up your mind to that much. 
But let me tell you whv I do not wish to be a doc- 

Father: " Gro on. You have always given me 
your fullest confidence." 

Son : ■• I do not wish to become a doctor because as 
your son I have an opportunity of knowing exactly 
what a physician's life is. I have seen you sac- 
rifice your comfort, pleasures, health, and every- 
thing to your patients — visiting them in the storms 
of winter and the heat of summer, when you were 
ill, when your family needed your services, and 
when every one else was ^taking a rest.' And 
with what results? Only these : to be made pre- 
maturely old without having accumulated an inde- 
pendence ; to liear much talk about gratitude and 
to see but little practical manifestation of it ; to be 
held responsible for results which in the nature of 
things would be inevitable ; to be calumniated by 
jealous rivals and betrayed by pretended friends ; 
to be worried by the whims, prejudices and conceits 
of patients who have been snatched from the jaws 
of death by your ready skill and patient nursing, 
and to be treated with the basest indifference in re- 
turn for hours of anxiety, watchfulness and self- 
sacrifice when the danger had passed and the 
grave had been robbed of its victim. Do you not 
remember your experience with H., every member 
of whose family had malignant diphtheria, and 
one died during convalescence from over-feeding^ 
and how they censured and insulted you for not 
letting them know from the first that the child 
would die? Have you forgotten Mrs. R., who in- 
sisted that you should visit her so often at night. 


after her balls, dinners, theaters, parties, etc., and 
then permitted your bill to remain unpaid for years, 
although she spent a 'mint' annually on dress 
and on entertainments? Have you no recollection of 
old W.j who declared that you had ^saved him from 
the grave,' until he was called upon for a settle- 
ment, when he veered round and proclaimed you a 
quack, insisted that you had charged for a greater 
number of visits than he had received, and finally 
attempted to run off without paying you anything? 
Now, it is true that yo'u have reared your children 
in comfort, and have been able to give each a good 
education ; that you are acknowledged to be the 
leading physician in this section of the country ; 
that yuur credit at the bank is as good as that of 
the richest man in the town ; and that if you were 
to die to-morrow your patrons would mourn your 
loss as a personal calamity and talk of nothing but 
your triumphs and virtues ; but, I ask you, is a life 
-'worth living' which has in it so many cloudy 
days and so few sunshiny ones? Ought a uian with 
his eyes open to choose a profession with which 
such annoyances and outrages as these are neces- 
sarily connected, whatever of honor or glory or 
recompense of any kind it may bring? In my 
judgment, when a man becomes a doctor he sells 
himself to slavery, and that, too, of the most hu- 
miliating and painful character. There then re- 
main as alternatives the ministry and the law, and 
as I do not feel that I am called to the former I am 
constrained to choose the latter as a matter of ne- 
cessity. Doctor iVIcGuffy told me that I had just 
the qualities of mind to make a successful jurist, 
and my taste runs strongly in that direction, as 

Father : " There is a great deal of truth in what 
you say ; the life of a doctor is a hard and thankless 

110 A doctor's experiences 

one unless he is actuated by higher principles than 
those which 'ordinarily influence humanity. A 
doctor's only refuge is in the cultivation of a senti- 
ment which lifts him above the consequences and 
the considerations which you mention^ and makes a 
sense of duty at once the source of his inspira- 
tions and the measure of his recompense. The 
incidents to which you refer were disgraceful 
enough, and they furnish sufficient evidence of 
the inherent depravity of human nature; but 
they have produced no impression upon my 
mind beyond a feeling of regret and sorrow iur 
their authors. Having done that which I knew to- 
be my duty, I have left these ungrateful creatures 
to their own devices, and to all the satisfaction 
which thev could derive from them. Life is too 
short for anything else than the simple performance 
of dut}' — for doing that which conscience and 
judgment unite in approving — and then in letting- 
things take their own course, relying upon God's 
justice to bring them right in the end. Calumny 
is but the tribute which every honest and success- 
ful man has to pay to jealousy and failure, and the 
higher he climbs and the stronger he shows him- 
self the heavier is the artillery which the vicious- 
and the malignant bring to bear upon him. Many 
shameful things have been said of me in my time, 
but, clothed in the consciousness of rectitude, I 
have suffered them to pass as 'the idle wind,' and 
have tried to let my daily walk answer and refute 
them. With your proud and over-sensitive nature, 
my son, you would experience as many annoyances 
and disappointments in connection with the practice 
of one profession as another — with law equally with 
medicine — unless you determined in the premiss 
to rise superior to personal consideration and to 
live only for the discharge of the trust appertaining 


to your chosen callinoj, without considering whether 
the world censures or applauds you. Man is a 
selfish and ungrateful animal, and he shows these 
qualities to all who are forced into intimate relations 
with him, whether medical, legal, ministerial, 
or what not. As to growing rich on the practice 
of medicine, it is a difficult matter to do so, I ad- 
mit, even under the most favorable circumstances. 
Gratitude expires with returning health ; the most 
honest men shrink from the payment of a doctor's 
bill and always believe that they have been over- 
charged ; and the physician with but little practice 
fears to importune his clients, and the successful 
one has not the time to do so. A thousand circum- 
stances, in fact, intervene to limit professional in- 
comes, as well as to preclude a medical man from 
amassing great wealth, and yet a large majority of 
the profession make respectable livings, and are able 
to supply personal comforts and educational ad- 
vantagi;es to their children. It is better, if one has 
to work, that he should not be supplied too liberally 
with money, as an independence is calculated to 
render him more indifferent to the discharge of his 
professional duties. Wealth in fact ' handicaps' 
the doctor, and comes between him and the best 
interests of the sick and suffering. If you should 
study law, I know you would make a good lawyer^ 
because your ambition would prompt you to master 
it, as your knowledge of it would necessarily have 
to be put to a public test. Indeed, I believe you 
would make a great lawyer, for, together with that 
immense fund of pride which seems to have been 
born in you, you have an acute and logical mind. 
But, my dear son^ there are two dangers which 
would threaten you throughout your career. Your 
sensitiveness would lead you into endless alterca- 
tions, and your life might be sacrificed in some un- 

112 A doctor's experiences 

necessary affair of honor, while your gifts as an 
orator would almost certainly carry you into poli- 
tics, which, according to my observation, is the most 
profitless and demoralizing of occupations. Dr. 
McGuflfy, with all his genius^ only took an in- 
complete view of the situation when he advised you 
to study law upon the ground that your talents 
fitted you exclusively for success in that profession. 
It is true that any man can be a doctor as doctors 
go^ and by carefully ' hugging tlie shore' and fol- 
lowing faithfully ^ the chart ' may even prove 
more successful in securing patronage than those 
who are his superiors in intellect and knowledge ; 
but it is equally true that to become a great physi- 
cian — a shining and enduring light in the world 
of medicine — there is required as much power of 
generalization, subtlety of analysis, accuracy in the 
application of principles, and readiness in the use 
of knowledge as for corresponding success in tlie. 
law or in any other calling. Yjur objections, my 
son, are not well taken, and they should not out- 
weigh the graver reasons which present themselves 
for the choice of medicine as your profession. I am 
getting old, Edward, and I need your help. You 
have only to assist me for a few years and then to 
fall heir to the fine business which I have been so 
long in building up, not more for myself than for 
you — for the son that I have hoped and believed 
would follow in my footsteps." 

Son: "Your arguments, father, are potent, but 
they do not convince my judgment, because my 
opinions have been the growth of years of observa- 
tion and reflection. I do not wish to be a doctor, 
and I do most earnestly desire to study law ; but 
after what you have said, I beg you to consider the 
matter settled. I will go to work on the 'dry- 
bones' whenever you say the word." 


Father: ^'I am delighted to hear yon say that, 
my son, and I shall love you all the more for the 
sacrifice of inclination which you have made — a 
sacrifice which I would not accept if I did not 
know it to be for your own best interests. You 
have worked hard; go where you please, enjoy 
yourself for the summer, and settle down to work 
in the autumn." 

So the matter was definitely settled and my des- 
tiny determined. No words can convey an idea of 
the real pain which the conclusion occasioned me. 
In a moment the dreams of my whole life were 
dashed to the ground, and in their stead a plan 
was substituted which I had always regarded with 
detestation and abhorrence. With me everything 
is steadfast and enduring ; my feelings and pur- 
poses are forged of iron. It is a matter almost of 
impossibility for the currents of my nature to be 
turned from their wonted courses, and I cannot 
surrender my opinions even in compliance with 
the dictates of better judgments and the exactions 
of altered circumstances. Barker, the phrenolo- 
gist, whose knowledge of human character amounts 
almost to an inspiration, said of me years ago: 
^' This is the most obstinate of human beings ; for 
him to surrender his purposes is almost an impos- 
sibility." I have found his opinion to be abso- 
lutely true, and to my sorrow and regret, as no 
one knows better than yourself. It has been diffi- 
cult for me to yield even to the fiat of the Al- 
mighty; while discipline of every kind has seemed 
only a form of coercion, against which my spirit 
has ever risen in rebellion. 

So gloomy and despondent a state of mind was 
developed because of this almost enforced abandon- 
ment of my long-cherished purpose to study law 
that for an entire year my intellect seemed to lose 

114 A doctor's experiences 

its grasp — to possess neither susceptibility nor te- 
nacity — and 1 made such indifferent progress in 
the acquirement of medical knowledge that my 
father became seriously apprehensive lest I might 
never succeed in obtaining a diploma. My heart 
consented to the change of plan, but my brain ab- 
solutely refused to follow its lead and to respond to> 
its suggestions. 

Exactly the same thing occurred to the Hon. 
Robert H. Smith, one of the most distinguished 
lawyers the South has produced. He was born 
and reared in Edenton, and on attaining his ma- 
jority his friends insisted that he should study 
medicine — against his inclinations — and he en- 
tered my father's office for that purpose. He came 
regularly, pored over his books, and seemed ab- 
sorbed in them, but, when questioned in regard to 
their contents, he could make no response — he 
showed that he knew absolutely nothing about 
them. After some months he abandoned the study 
of medicine in disgust, went to Alabama, studied 
law, and became one of the most noted jurists and 
distinguished statesmen in the country. 

Finding that 1 made no progress — that after a 
year's study I could describe no single bone in the 
human body — m}' father sent me to the medical 
school connected with the University of Virginia, 
but with many apprehensions as to the result of 
the experiment. 

Upon my arrival there my friends scarcely knew 
me. They said that I had grown prematurely old 
and had lost all that vivacity of spirit which had 
characterized me in other days. I attended lec- 
tures faithfully and tried hard to learn, but when- 
ever called up for recitation I invariably made an 
inglorious failure and came out of the lecture room 
utterly despondent and disgusted. 


This went on for about four months, when an 
event occurred which had a marked influence upon 
my college career and placed me at the head of 
my class from that time forward, to the astonish- 
ment of those who, forgetting the triumphs of 
other sessions, had measured me by the failures of 
this one. 

The medical class of that year organized a so- 
ciety for the purpose of discussing medical subjects 
and of having an oration delivered in public at the 
end of the session. As I had some talent for talk- 
ing, my friends "put me up" as a candidate for 
"final orator," as they termed the student who 
was to appear in public at commencement. They 
considered my election certain, but on the night 
appointed to decide the matter my opponents in- 
troduced twelve new members, and I was de- 
feated by a majority of three votes. This trick 
produced so profound a feeling of indignation in 
my bosom and among my supporters, that we all 
resigned and left the society in the hands of the 
hostile party. 

Its effect upon me was magical. The principal 
argument used in the canvass was that the man 
selected to represent the society should be one who 
was likely to graduate in medicine and that I stood 
no chance of doing so. I therefore determined to 
graduate, and to show my adversaries that they had 
made a mistake in their calculations ; and I called a 
meeting of my friends, thanked them for their sup- 
port, and informed them of my determination. 
They unanimously advised against the attempt, 
urging that it was difficult to graduate in a single 
session even if one came well posted and then 
studied faithfully for the entire term, whereas 
the very opposite v/as true in m}^ case. But their 
advice had no effect upon my mind ; for my pride 

116 A doctor's experiences 

and ambition were excited, and I felt that I had 
rather die than fail to make the venture, and to suc- 
ceed in it as well. I went immediately to the dean 
of the faculty, and asked his consent to become a 
candidate, explaining the circumstances under which 
the application was made. He informed me that 
the rules of the college required a ^' notification to 
the faci:{lty in writing early in the session," but 
that he would strain a point and make an excep- 
tion in my case — so that 1 entered the list as a 
candidate for the degree. 

For fiye months I studied sixteen hours daily, 
thinking only of success, and sacrificing every 
other consideration to it ; and I had the satisfac- 
tion of coming out victorious in the end — of walk- 
ing up on commencement day by the side of my 
competitor and I'eceiving the diploma of doctor of 
medicine of the University of Virginia. The ap- 
plause with which my enthusiastic friends filled 
the rotunda on that occasion was deafening; but it 
was the sweetest music that had ever reached my 
ear, and it amply repaid me for all the long hours 
of labor and anxiety which I had devoted to the 
task of " getting even '"' with the ^Esculapian So- 

But my victory did not end with the degree. 
The Jefferson Society — the oldest and most honor- 
able of the college — having a vacancy to fill, and 
appreciating the circumstances of the case, selected 
me as its valedictorian for that session. As this 
was esteemed the honor of the college, you can 
appreciate the kind feeling which prompted those 
who sought to advance me, and understand how it 
gratified my heart and consummated my triumph. 

I wrote my address in a single night — after hav- 
ing heard the result of the examination — and 
though neither so concise nor coherent as it might 


have been, it was brim full of enthusiasm and my 
friends thought it splendid. 

Thus it was that disaster was transformed into 
triumph, and that a night of darkness and disap- 
pointment was succeeded by a morning of sunshine 
and rejoicing. 

During all this time I had never informed my 
father of my purpose, and when I returned home 
he w^as perfectly ignorant of what I had under- 
taken and accomplished. In response to his in- 
quiries, I opened my trunk, and, without a word 
of explanation, placed the ''diploma" and the 
" programme of the final exercises " in his hands. 
In a moment tears of joy were coursing down his 
cheeks, and clasping me in his arms, he murmured, 
" Thank you, my son," in tones of such tender and 
touching pathos as have proved a perennial source 
of pride and pleasure to my heart. I thanked 
God for my defeat in the ^sculapian Society 
since ; but for that disappointment I should have 
passed the session in " inglorious ease," and have 
burne off no trophies with which to delight the 
soul of that great and good old man. 

Pari 2^cissu with the study of medicine, there was 
developed in me a love for it which has ever since 
been a part of my being, growing with each year 
of my existence and controlling and directing my 
entire life. 

The University of Virginia possesses no clinical 
advantages, and though thoroughly grounded in 
the principles of medicine, I was profoundly igno- 
rant of disease save as it was described in the text 

Hence it was that I concluded to visit Philadel- 
phia during the coming winter, and sought in the 
mean time to acquaint myself with the practical de- 
tails of medicine at home. 


My father owned a negro man nanaed William, 
who had been raised in his office and to whom I 
am indebted for much assistance in the outset of 
my career. Possessing great natural intelligence, 
and having taught himself to read and write, he 
managed to acquire a considerable knowledge of 
medicine, while as a cupper, leecher, and tooth- 
extracter he was unusually skillful. At the same 
time, he was the most pompous of darkeys, and with 
his bald head, his erect carriao:e. his lono' black 
coat, his faultless collar, and his redundance of 
technical terms, he was the very type of the old- 
tashioned "country doctor." He prided himself 
on being ''a gentleman of qualit}^," and in suavity 
of manner, scrupulous politeness, and freedom from 
guile he was the equal of any man who claimed 
that title. And yet, to his superiors, he was al- 
ways the most humble, respectful and obedient of 
servants, never forgetting his place nor neglecting 
any duty which his lot in life imposed. His am- 
bition did not confine itself to the •' shop," but as- 
pired to the ''pulpit," as well. He preached or 
prayed in the meeting-house every Sunday, and he 
occupied all the leisure at his command during the 
week in preparing the "exhortation" or "petition 
to the throne" as he designated his ministerial ef- 
forts. This preparation consisted in culling from 
Webster's dictionary and the medical works in 
my father's library the longest and most strictly 
technical words that he could find, which, when 
the momentous occasion arrived, he distributed 
through his discourse without regard to the perti- 
nency or to the comprehension of his auditors. 
Despite this indulgence in "high dicto" — the 
negro's term for language which is beyond ordi- 
nary comprehension — his discourses abounded in 
much hard sense and true religious fervor, while 


tliev were delivered with an unction which would 
have done credit to any bishop in the land. At 
any rate, whether his high-flown terms were un- 
derstood or not, his efforts were accepted by ^' the 
-congregation" as masterpieces of eloquence^ and 
neither Bossuet nor Fenelon ever received an in- 
finitesimal part of the homage which was lavished 
upon him. Notwithstanding his pomposity and 
the superabundant supply of vanity with which 
nature had endowed him, no kinder or truer heart 
than his ever beat in a human bosom. He loved 
those to whom he belonged with a fervor and with 
Sj steadfastness which stood the test of every pos'si- 
ble trial and temptation. When "escape from 
bondage" was the watchword of his race, and free- 
dom was easily in his reach, he remained quietly 
-at his post, as humble and as faithful as if no 
" proclamation " existed. When liberty was posi- 
tively forced upon him, he sought no employment 
aw\ay from home until urged to do so in his own 
interest, and he brought the first fruits of his labor 
and proposed to devote them to the support of those 
whom he loved so well. And ever since, whenever 
the occasion has offered, he has never failed to 
manifest the most profound respect and the tender- 
est affection for his "old master and mistress," as 
he still delights to call them. 

In view of these facts, and of many others of a 
kindred nature, it is impossible for me to take into 
consideration the color of his skin or the quality of 
his blood, and I can only feel toward him as a 
friend and brother — as one to whom the best affec- 
tions of my heart are due, and with whom I would 
gladly share my last crust and my bottom dollar. 

It is a little singular that another man of the 
same name, race and character should have been 
linked with my destiny for nearly twenty years in 

120 A doctor's experiences 

the capacity of a servant, but really in the relation 
of a friend, and a most devoted and faithful one, as 
you know full well. Of him, however, I shall speak 
more fully io another portion of this narrative. 

I cannot refrain from saying in this connection 
that I pride myself on being a friend of the negroes; 
for, in my judgment, they possess some excellent 
traits of character and compare favorably in many 
important respects with their more pretentious 
brothers. The conduct of the slaves of the South 
— and I speak from my own observation and ex- 
perience — during the war between the sections, 
was admirable beyond precedent or parallel. 

While a conflict was waging which was to decide 
the question of their emancipation or the perpetu- 
ation of their bondage, they remained apparently 
disinterested spectators of the scene, laboring with 
their wonted fidelity, and protecting the wives and 
children of their masters, who were really fight- 
ing against their most essential interests. Greater 
docility, devotion to duty, and disregard of selfish 
considerations were never chronicled before in the 
history of humanity. Their conduct in this con- 
nection teaches, however, one significant lesson 
which it is important to remember: it shows that 
notwithstanding the evils which necessarily asso- 
ciated themselves with the '^ peculiar institution," 
the relations between their masters and themselves 
were not illustrated by acts of cruelty on the one 
side and by a spirit of vindictiveness on the other 
as so much ink has been consumed in the attempt ta 

The abolition of slavery is not to be regretted, 
even by those who lost so heavily in the premises. 
Previous to the war the negroes of the South were 
certainly better fed, clothed, and cared for than 
the laborers of any^other country under the sun, 


and their masters were, consequently, subjected to 
a heavier expense, and were more fettered by re- 
sponsibilities and obligations than their employers 
have been since or can possibly be again. In those 
days labor consumed nearly all that it produced, 
leaving but a small margin tor the luxuries of 
liie and adding nothing to capital save in the mul- 
tiplication of itself — in the augmented value of 
slave property from the natural law of increase. 
Under the present order of things the agricultur- 
ists of the South — those who formerly owned slaves 
— gain in two ways, viz., by the greater amount of 
work done in a given time, and by the smaller 
amount of money, expended upon labor ; for the 
young, the old, and the infirm have now to shift 
for themselves without being a tax upon their mas- 
ters, as they were in other days. 

Since the war their conduct has on the whole 
been good, the only exception being in such in- 
stances as they have been influenced by bad ad- 
visers. They certainly have shown that they have 
had no special wrongs to redress, as would have been 
the case had the stories told in " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin " and similar romances been anything else 
than pure inventions^ concocted for party purposes. 
Indeed, the legislation of the country, influenced 
as it has been by the abolitionists exclusively, in 
immediately investing the freedmen with the fran- 
chise, furnishes a complete answer to the charges 
of cruelty and inhumanity which have been 
made against their former masters ; for had the 
negroes been the degraded creatures which such a 
system would necessarily have rendered them, 
their elevation to the prerogatives of citizenship 
would have inevitably proved a disaster to the Re- 
public — depending as it does for its very existence 
upon the intelligence and virtue of its citizens. 

122 A doctor's experiences 

That they are naturally kind and sympathetic 
when left to themselves, I know from my own ex- 

When I returned to Edenton after the surrender, 
rained in fortune, shattered in health, and scarce 
knowing where to turn for refuge, the friends who 
rallied around me were the negroes, to whom, in 
more j^^osperous times, my professional services 
had been rendered. While others, who were under 
every possible obligation on that account, seemed 
to forget my existence or arrayed themselves with 
my enemies, these poor creatures overwhelmed me 
with expressions of sympathy and proofs of friend- 

Theirs was not that species of gratitude which 
quickens under the stimulus of anticipated favors, 
for I was penniless and powerless in those dreary 
days, and their kindness to me and mine were 
naught else than the natural outflowings of real 
humanity — a spontaneous tribute from that gen- 
uine loyalty which the God of nature has planted in 
their bosoms. 

My first patient was an old negro by the name 
of Harry Jones, who came to the office suffering 
from an aching tooth, and praying for its extraction 
— for there were no dentists in those parts at the 
time, and physicians were compelled to act as their 
substitutes so far as minor operations were con- 
cerned. Unfortunately, my education had been 
neglected in that particular, and I should have 
been less embarrassed had the operation been an 

I was therefore only too happy to fall back upon 
the advice and assistance of William, the negro 
man to whom I have already referred. While 
pretending to examine the tooth, he yery quietly 
directed me how to apply and manipulate the in- 


strument, and I then went to work in accordance, 
and, as I thought, with the instructions which he 
had given me. In response to a powerful wrench 
out flew hoo teeth upon the floor — the one wliich I 
had proposed to extract and its nearest neighbor. 
Overwhelmed with confusion at this unexpected 
result^ I was seeking to frame some excuse for my 
awkwardness, when old Harry exclaimed, as he 
gathered up the teeth and thrust them into his 
pocket: ''Thank de Lord ! you've got um bofe at 
a pop. How in de gracious, boss, did you know 
dat , sometimes one ake as bad as de toder? Bofe 
out at a clip ! did you ever hearn of the like. Hur- 
rah for Mars Edurd!" 

"That is a new style of tooth pulling, old man," 
said I, taking the cue, "and it was never per- 
formed before in this country." 

" Those masticators won't disturb you in the 
hereafter," chimed in my good friend William ; 
^' and you ought to be mighty grateful for getting 
them both eradicated at one evolution of the cor- 
pus. My young master's got real gumption, and 
he don't take two bites at a cherry, nor at a 
tooth either, Uncle Harry." 

The old fellow gathered himself up and went on 
his way rejoicing ; and telling the story far and 
wide of my wonderful " gumption" and dexterity, 
I suddenly found myself famed throughout that 
part of the country as a tooth -puller. Thus it is 
that "great streams from little fountains flow" 
and that a man often reaps more than he sows or 
counts upon, both of good and of evil. 

My reputation as an oculist soon became as great 
as my fame as a dentist, and on grounds hardly 
more substantial. 

A young woman named. Betsey Miller, who re- 
sided in " Cowpen-neck" and had the reputation 

124 A doctor's experiences 

of possessing the longest tongue in the county, 
came to me for the treatment of her eyes. She was 
suffering from ophthalmia, and had been treated by 
a numt)er of physicians who had failed to cure her 
— doubtless because they became weary of her 
^'jaw," and gave up the case. Having succeeded 
in curing her, for the reason that, as a beginner, I 
took more pains to succeed, she asked William one 
day to tell her exactly what I had done, so that 
she might be prepared for any other attack. As 
with all his fantastic ways he had plenty of fun in 
him, he replied, •' Well, Mistress Miller, it's 
against the rules of our profession to discourse on 
such scientific matters with outsiders, but I will 
make a deception with you. Master Edward, you 
see, is a great ocuologist, and he can do strange 
and multitudinous things in visual surgery, so he 
just slipped your eyes out of their sockets, washed 
them with a pharmaceutical lotion, and returned 
them to their normal position, sound and well. It 
is a wonderful recuperation that he has made, Mis- 
tress Miller, and you ought to be mighty gratui- 
tous for it, I can tell you." 

"Took them out of their sockets?" cried Miss 
Betsey, opening her eyes wider than they had ever 
been before with amazement and credulity ; ''bless 
my life, it is wonderful! And that is why he 
bandaged one while he worked on the other — to 
keep rne from seeing what he was about. Are you 
sure he has put them back straight, Uncle Will- 
iam? Please to. take a good look and tell me the 
the gospel truth." 

"Straight as a die, and sound as a dollar, Mis- 
tress Miller," answered William, chuckling to 
himself over the way in which he had taken her in. 

" Don't listen to William's yarns. Miss Betsey. 
He is only romancing a little," I put in at once. 


^'Wbat is romancing?" asked the young woman. 

"Speaking the truth, the whole truth, and noth- 
ing but the truth," answered William, with the 
gravity of a judge, which so convulsed me with 
laughter that I could not explain matters before 
she bad vanished. 

" What did you tell her that whopper for, Will- 
iam," I inquired, when we were alone. 

" Only for a little fun, young master," answered 
William. " We medical men must have some di- 
version. Without a little joke now and then the 
profession would die of the blues. She will find 
out soon enough that I have humbugged her, and 
will return to have it out wnth me. Don't worry 
3^ourself about that innocent little fib of mine, for 
you will never hear any more of it after she has 
jawed me for stuffing her like I would any other 

But I did hear "more about it." In less than a 
month's time it was known and believed through- 
out the county that the "young doctor" had 
cured Betsey Miller by "taking her eyes out of 
their sockets, washing them, and putting them back 
again;" and such is the tradition there to this 
day. It was in vain that I contradicted the story. 
She was believed, andj as a natural consequence, 
every man, woman and child for many miles around 
-who had any disease of the eyes flocked to my of- 
fice to be cured a la Betsey Miller. 

126 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

In the month of October, 1850, I went to Phil- 
adelphia to complete my studies, making a detour^ 
as I have previously explained. My father gradu- 
ated in the University of Pennsylvania, but alter 
due consideration I matriculated at the Jefferson 
Medical College, and I have never had reason to re- 
gret the choice. Dr. Miitter was certainly one of 
the most eloquent and instructive lecturers, and 
Dr. Pancoast one of the best operators, that this 
country has produced, while their colleagues gen- 
erally were men of ability and learning. 

Being- anxious to see as much of practical medi- 
cine as possible, I made arrangements with one of 
the city physicians to take the poor of his ward 
under my professional charge, and it so happened 
that Professor Bache lectured on chemistry at the 
precise hours which I devoted to this work. As 
he w^as not an interesting teacher, though a profi- 
cient in his specialty, the number of students who 
had the patience to listen to him was small, so in- 
considerable, in fact, that he soon learned to dis- 
tinguish each one of them and to address him by 

When the time for my examination on chemistry 
arrived I did not enter his sanctum with the 
bravest of hearts, because I felt assured that he 
would know that I was not of the faithful few who 


had suffered martyrdom to please him and to se- 
cure his vote. 

" Take a seat," he said rather gruffly. " Your 
name is Warren, I see, but I have no recollection 
of having ever met you before to-night. Have 
you attended my lectures ?" 

" Some of them," I answered meekly. 

"How many, sir?" demanded the old man 

" Three or four," was my reply. 

" Three or four, indeed ! And do you expect to 
get my vote after confessing to such negligence?" 

"I expect to get -your vote if I answer your 
questions, professor. I am not here as a beggar, 
sir," I answered, a little frightened, but very much 

" Oh ! You think you know^ enough of chem- 
istry without my instruction, do you? Well, we 
shall see," said the doctor, evidently piqued and' 

" I think I know enough of chemistry to entitle 
me to the diploma of this college," I answered. 

" Well, sir, I will determine that question for 
myself," said the old man. 

He then went to w^ork, and for an hour plied me 
with questions of every possible kind, embracing 
the most difficult he could think of; but, fortun- 
ately, my thorough training at the University of 
Virginia served me well, and I went through the 
ordeal without a balk or a mistake. This seemed 
to make him furious, and he finally roared out : 

" What is vitriolated tartar, sir ?" 

" A substance unknown to modern chemistry, at 
least by the name you give it," said I, very de- 
cidedly. " Professor Rogers, of the University of 

■" Professor Rogers ! " he exclaimed. '' And you 

128 A doctor's experiences 

are a University of Virginia man? Why did you 
not say that before, and save me all this trouble?" 

''I am a ^graduate, sir, of that institution, and 
I took distinctions in chemistry besides." 

" All right. I will vote for you with pleasure, 
as I should have done without asking you a ques- 
tion had you told me where you came from." 

'^ But, professor, what about vitriolated tartar ?" 

'* Oh ! An obsolete term for sulphate of potash ; 
and I only wanted to take the conceit out of you 
by asking a question that you could not answer." 

After this exhibition of amiability on his part, I 
explained the circumstances which had compelled 
me to forego the pleasure (?) of attending his lec- 
tures, and we parted the best of friends. I have 
no doubt this question has '' taken the conceit " out 
of many a poor fellow who had " cut " the doctor's 
lectures and had not Prof. Kogers' training to fall 
back upon. Professors are much too prone to re- 
sort to "catch questions" in order to embarrass 
students and to secure a paltry triumph for them- 
selves, without remembering that they may thus 
disconcert and wrong the most deserving. I have 
repeatedly occupied chairs in medical colleges, and 
I have made it an invariable rule to give each candi- 
date a square and fair examination, taking special 
pains, at the same time, to relieve him from all 
embarrassment, and to encourage that condition of 
mental composure in which the intellect works 
with its wonted ease and accuracy. 

I boarded that winter in a very select house kept 
by two maiden ladies who had seen better days and 
were connected with some of the best people in 
Philadelphia. The society of their establishment 
was elegant, and I made the acquaintance of many 
charming people there. Only five medical students 
succeeded in gaining admittance, and they were 


received as a particular favor, and on special recom- 

Medical students were reo;arded in those days as 
most uncouth and uncivilized specimens of hu- 
manity, and they were popularly rated and reviled 
as Southerners, and especially as Virginians. 
Whenever a disturbance occurred, the " students " 
were held responsible and they were generally 
treated as if they were convicts or outlaws — as 
the representatives of an inferior race and civiliza- 
tion. The result was a perpetual state of warfare 
between the Philadelphians and those who had 
oome among them to engage in the stuiy of medi- 
cine, with the development of reciprocal senti- 
ments of aversion, which bore bitter fruits for both 

I am convinced that the germs of antagonism 
thus sown among the physicians of the South gradu- 
ally infected their entire section, and became im- 
portant elements in the production of that condition 
of things which culminated in one of the bloodiest 
wars of modern times. 

Among the results of this controversy may also 
be classed the fact that, though the medical schools 
of Philadelphia are inferior to none in the country, 
'the tide of Southern patronage now flows silently 
by them and pours itself into the lap of New 
York, a city which has ever been distinguished for 
the liberality and catholicity of its sentiments. 

My chum was George Wilkins, of Northampton 
County, Ya., with whom I had become well ac- 
quainted at the University of Yirginia, and of 
whom I can emphatically say that a better man 
never entered the ranks of the profession. Pos- 
sessed of ample means, he has not engaged actively 
in the practice of medicine, but he has never failed 
to command the respect of the community in which 

130 A doctor's experiences 

he lives, and especially of tliose who know him in- 
timately. We have l)een friends for more than 
thirty years, and we shall continue such to the end, 
which cannot be very distant from either of us. 

Among my student friends there was a young man 
from Virginia, who really belonged to one of the 
" first families" of that State, and who was dis- 
tinguished not less for his brilliant intellect than, 
lor his vivacity and light-heartedness. He was, m 
fact, one of those bright, jovial, irrepressible, 
whole-souled men who seem born alone for sun- 
shine and happiness. His joyous laughter, his 
sna-tches of merry song and his sparkling jests 
ring ever through my memory like some sweet re- 
frain from the shores of the past. Besides, he was 
the handsomest fellow in his clas^. Tall and 
graceful in person, his oval forehead shaded with 
chestnut curls, his bright eyes reflecting the deep- 
est blue of the skies, and with a nose and mouth 
unsurpassed in symmetry by any creation of classic 
art, he seemed almost feminine in his personal at- 
tractions. After a brilliant examination he gradu- 
ated in medicine and turned his face homeward ^ 
followed by the best wishes of the entire class, and 
seemingly with the most brilliant future before him. 

For more than twelve years I never saw or heard 
of him, and I supposed that his life had fulfilled 
its promise ; that he had reaped as rich a harvest 
of the world's blessings and honors as he had ex- 
pected and deserved. 

But I was woefully mistaken. One night dur- 
ing the war I was in Richmond, and had retired 
to rest in the old Spottswood Hotel, when there 
was a^ rap at my door, and a man entered, who 
greeted me with a cordial shake of the hand, and 
the familiar salutation: '"How goes it, Ned?'^ 
" You have the advantage of me, sir/' said I, as I 


recoo:aized neither the voice nor the face of mv 
visitor. " Don't know me ? I am your old friend, 

Bob H ; I certainly, then, must have altered 

very much," said he. 

" You Bob H ?" I exclaimed. '^ I remem- 
ber him perfectly, and you have neither his face, 
figure nor voice. You are no more like him than 
I am. Such a change could not take place in a 
human being." All this time I stood with my 
hand upon the open door, neither offering him a 
seat nor showing him the slightest courtesy, be- 
cause I believed him to be some '^ dead beat " who 
was trying to take me in. 

'^Ned Warren," he said, as the tears rolled 
down his cheeks, "Is this the reception you give 
an old friend after so many years of separation ? 
And I had such a favor to ask of you, thinking I 
should find you what you were in other days. 
Well, it's all up with me, and I won't intrude any 

" Convince me that you are the man you claim 
to be, and there is nothing I will not do for you. 

If you are Bob H , tell me where we boarded 

in Philadelphia and about the people we knew 

In a moment he went over the incidents of our 
student life and removed every doubt from my 
mind as to his identity. 

'• A thousand pardons, old fellow," I exclaimed, 
embracing him warmly. ''I am delighted to see 
you again. But what have you been doing with 
yourself to make such a complete transformation 
possible? Your own mother would not know you. 
Bob, for everything about you^ even the color of 
3^our hair and the tones of your voice, have totally 
changed. Take a seat and tell me all about your- 

132 A doctor's experiences 

'' Ah J Ned," said lie^ as he sank into a chair and 
"threw his tattered hat upon the sofa, '' I have had 
•a hard time since we parted ; life seemed all sun- 
shine then, but it turned out to be only clouds and 
-darkness ; practice did not come so rapidly as I ex- 
pected ; my money ran low ; disappointments of all 
kinds pursued me ; and I sought consolation and 
oblivion in drink, which only made matters worse. 
I lived the life of an obscure 'country doctor/ 
just managing to exist, until the war broke out, 
wlien I ' went in ' as a private, and have re- 
mained in the ranks up to the present moment. 
When nearly dead from the combined eifects of 
wounds, privation and exposure, I applied for per- 
mission to be examined for the position of assistant 
surgeon. After waiting for six months in a state 
of mind bordering on desperation, a favorable 
answer reached me on yesterday, and I have been 
given two days' leave so that I may appear before 
the board of examination, of which you are a mem- 
ber. I am to be examined to-morrow morning at 
ten o'clock, and as I have never been a student 
since my graduation, and have not had a medical 
book in my hands for two years, my rejection is 
almost a matter of certainty, which means that I 
shall have to return to camp either to be speedily 
killed or to die like a dog, for my health is utterly 
shattered. Having heard by the merest accident 
of your presence here and of your connection with 
the board, I hurried to your hotel to beg of you for 
God's sake to help me — to save me." 

''The case is, indeed, a grave one, Bob. Un- 
fortunately, I am not a member of the Richmond 
board, but of another in North Carolina. The ex- 
amination will surely be a rigid one, and you must 
not think of standing it until you have had time 
to prepare yourself. I know the secretary of war 


intimatelyj and I will see him to-morrow, state 
your case, and get you a leave of absence for a 
month so that you can post yourself." 

" Unluckily, you can't do that before ten o'clock 
to-morrow, and at that precise hour I am compelled 
to appear before the board. Stand the examination 
I must, and take the chances, though they are a 
thousand to one against me. How I should like to 
succeed !" 

''Then I will try the next best thiug. The 
clock has just struck two and we have eight hours 
to work in. I propose to devote the entire time to 
cramming you for the examination. Having served 
on boards of examination I know the ground which 
your examiners are likely to take you over, and, 
although there may be a constructive breach of 
faith in it, I intend to prepare you as far as possi- 
ble for the questions that they will probably ask 
you ; and I am sure that both the Good Lord and 
Jeff Davis will forgive me for thus trying to help 
an old friend in distress. What do you say to my 
proposition ?" 

" It's a desperate chance, Ned, but a drowning 
man can't afford to quarrel with the rope that is 
thrown to him. I will try to take in what you tell 
me, but I am as dull as a land terrapin and as 
rusty as a discarded stovepipe. I know the Lord 
will pardon and reward you for your kindness." 

So I stirred up the fire and went to work to pre- 
pare the poor fellow for the ordeal through which 
he had to pass. I found the task a difficult one, I 
can assure 3'ou, for he seemed not only to have for- 
gotten all that he had ever known, but to have 
lost the faculty of acquiring knowledge. I made 
it a point, naturally, to post him on gun-shot 
wounds, taking my departure from the wounds which 
he had received, and charging him at the same time 

134 A doctor's experiences 

to bring them adroitly to the front, so as to lead 
the examiners upon ground with which he was 
comparatively familiar. 

Finally the hour approached, and under the 
stimulus of the breakfast which I ordered in my 
room, he became a little more hopeful, and began 
to ''spruce himself up," asking me to lend him 
one of my old ''citizen coats" so that he might 
"present a more decent appearance" before the 
board. " By no means," said I ; " don't think of 
appearing in anything but jouv ragged uniform. 
Enter the room as if you had just tramped in from 
camp, and then make some pleasant remark to this 
effect : I hope you will excuse my appearance, 
gentlemen, as this costume is the best that my 
wardrobe can afford, and my rustiness as well, for 
a man who has been for two years practicing the 
art of killing his fellow beings must necessarily 
have lost much of his skill in curing them. At 
the same time, avoid all discussion ivith the mem- 
bers of the board, and be sure to provoke a discus- 
sion amo7ig them if you can. Don't forget to bring 
your own wounds conspicuously forward, and trust 
to the Lord for the rest." 

I was too much interested to remain at home, 
and for an hour I paced the street in front of the 
building in which the board held its sessions, 
anxiously awaiting the appearance of my friend. 
Finally he came out, looking ten years younger, 
his face radiant with smiles and tears of joy stream- 
ing down his cheeks. Throwing himself into my 
arms he sobbed out: "You have saved me! I 
have passed ! I have passed ! They told me so 
before I left the room." 

" Well, I do most heartily congratulate you. 
But tell me all about it. How did you manage to 
get along so well?" 



Oh ! I had the best luck imaginable. The 
moment they saw my ragged uniform and my 
generally dilapidated appearance they seemed 
kindly disposed toward me. They fell into the 
trap beautifully which I baited with my own 
wounds, and having asked a few questions concern- 
ing them and wounds generally they got into a 
discussion among themselves in regard to the 
cold-water treatment, which they kept up until the 
time allotted to my examination had expired. 
When they made this discovery they apologized 
for their neglect (?) — for which^ God knows, I for- 
gave them — conferred together a little, congratu- 
lated me upon my surgical knowledge, and then 
informed me that they would vote for me with 
pleasure. So you see I am no longer a ' high pri- 
vate,' but an 'assistant surgeon,' P. A. C. S. I 
can never repay you, Warren, if I live a thousand 
years or get to be surgeon-general." 

" Don't talk, about that part of it, Bob. You 
would have done as much for me. I am as proud 
of your success as you are. Come and dine with 
me at six sharp, and we will talk the matter over. 
Good morning, don't forget the hour for dinner."' 

Having been detained a long time at the surgeon- 
general's office, I did not regain my hotel until 
lialf-past six P. M. To my astonishment, my 
friend was not awaiting me either in the hall or in 
the parlor, nor could he be ibund though I searched 
■everywhere, especially in the soldiers' most certain 
retreat, the '^ sample room." I then went up to my 
room to prepare for dinner, and to my astonishment 
found the door unlocked, but barred on the inside 
by some obstruction. Calling for assistance, I 
pushed it open with difficulty, and found upon the 
floor the prostrate form of my guest I left him 
where he had fallen in his intoxication, ate my 


dinner alone and passed the night in an adjoining 
chamber — to find him on the following morning 
sleeping as quietly in my bed and as much at home 
as it" he were in his own tent upon the banks of the 
Rapid an. 

"Hallo!" cried I, giving him a hearty shake, 
"the reveille has beaten, and it is time to turn 

" The devil you say," cried he, springing from 
the bed and rushing toward the door, apparently 
in great alarm. 

" Hold on. Bob ! Where are yon going, and what 
are you about?" cried I, catching him by the 
shoulder and forcing him into a seat. 

" Why, Ned, is this you? I thought I was in 
camp," he exclaimed, rubbing his eyes and giving 
a terrific yawn ; " but now I remember that I am 
to dine with you. Is it time for dinner ?" 

"Yes, and breakfast-time in the bargain. I 
found you here last night, dead drunk, and you 
have slept for twelve hours on a stretch." 

"Oh, yes, yes, I remember all about it now — 
but you see, old fellow, I was bound to ' celebrate 
the clav' havino; 'curled' the board so beautifullv." 

" By getting drunk ?" 

" Yes, of course, but I got drunk like a gentle- 
man. It was none of your rot-gut or new-dip that 
did the business for me, but genuine champagne. 
It is true it took every cent of the three months' 
pay which I had earned with my blood, but I wa& 
determinecl to do my celebrating respectably, and 
I did it. You know that I had to support the 
dignity of an officer and to drink your health at 
the same time." 

" I don't see anything gentlemanly or respectable 
in trettino; drunk, nor do I wish my health drunk 
in champagne or anything else if your last cent has 


to be spent in buying it and you end by making a 
brute of yourself besides." 

" When did you join the temperance society? 
Have you forgotten the sundry ^ whisky toddies' 
we consumed together in old times ?" 

'^I am no temperance man, Bob, but simply a 
temperate one. If I had, however, the slightest 
weakness for liquor I would take the pledge to-day, 
and keep it for the rest of my life. I have not for- 
gotten the good times we had together when we 
were younger, but I would not drink with you 
again, now that I know your failing, for my right 
hand. I do not wish to encourage you to do that 
toward which it is evident you are already too 
much inclined — to get drunk and ruin yourself. I 
wish that alcohol had never been discovered or 
could be abolished toto coelo." 

"You are hard on me, Ned Warren. I have 
only 'celebrated' my good luck of yesterday by 
drinking a bottle of champagne like a gentleman ; 
and if I did get tight on it many a better man than 
you or I has done the same. I am surprised at 
your wish to abolish alcohol, considering its value 
as a medicine and in view of the lives saved by it 

"I hard on you? No, Bob, it is you who are 
hard upon yourself. I must speak plainly, because I 
am really a friend and want to serve you. When 
1 first knew you, you were one of the handsomest 
and happiest fellows in the world. All the girls 
loved you ; you were the pet of your class ; you 
were the hope of your family, and you were the 
pride of the community in which you lived. Few 
men were ever more blessed with talents and pros- 
pects than you, twelve years ago. What are you 
to-day? By your own confession, you are a dead 
failure and a complete wreck — blighted physically, 

138 A doctor's experiexces 

mentally and morally ; you have thrown away your 
chance in life ; you have disappointed your com- 
rades, mortified your family, and disgusted the 
community in which you were reared ; your for- 
tune has heen dissipated, and you have just spent 
your ' last copper ; ' your ' troops ' of friends 
have dwindled down to one solitary college-mate ; 
and you who ought to be a professor are simply an 
assistant surgeon in embryo, having scraped 
through by the very skin of your teeth. Now, 
what has brought about all this ? What is the rock 
upon which your life has been wrecked ? You 
know it is drink — nothino; more and nothino; less. 
It is alcohol in some form or other that has thus 
transformed, demoralized, and destroyed 3'ou. 
Let me ask you, then, is it I who am hard upon 
3^ou in simply telling you the truth about this ter- 
rible vice of yours, or is it you who are hard upon 
yourself for indulging it? Talk about 'celebrat- 
ing your victory with champagne,' as if the 
quality of the wine helped the character of the act ! 
You had better celebrate it with a dose of arsenic 
and put an end to your life at once than to con- 
tinue it in drunkenness and disgrace. Talk about 
'getting drunk like a gentleman,' as if there were 
any way of doing a disgraceful thing which can 
transform it into a virtue, and add to the respect- 
ability of its perpetrator 1 I admit that alcohol has 
its value as a medicine — that good results attend 
its judicious administration — but of this I am cer- 
tain : for every pang it relieves there are a myriad 
of pains which it produces ; for each life it prolongs 
there are an infinitude of lives which it destroys, 
while the benefits it secures as compared with the 
evils which it entails are as a pebble to the Pyra- 
mids, as a stream from a spigot to the falls of 
Niagara. Taking all things into account, and 


multiplying its therapeutical value ten thousand 
fold, I am convinced that the world would gain 
largely by its annihilation — if all there is of it, 
whatever its name or guise, could be poured into 
the sea, and its future production prohibited." 

" My God, Warren, stop ! What you say pen- 
etrates to the core. It makes me think — a thing 
that I have not done for ten years." 

" You ought to have commenced to think before ; 
it is too late for that now. Suppose you began, 
even at this late day, to act. You say that I have 
done you a service — have saved your life and res- 
cued you from a whole catalogue of evils, and you 
talk about seeking the occasion to give a proof of 
your gratitude. That occasion is before you ; grant 
me a favor, and make us ^ quits.'" 

^'I am at your service. What possible favor can 
you have to ask of me?" 

"It is a favor to me, but a still greater service 
to yourself. Give me your word of honor that you 
will never drink again." 

'^ What is the use? I have sworn off a thou- 
sand times and have fallen from grace as often. 
There always occurs something I feel bound to 
^ celebrate,' and I find that the pledge is not 
worth 'a continental.' I have not the moral 
force to resist temptation. I only wish I had." 

" Make one more effort for my sake and your 
own. Think of the good luck you have had in 
your examination, and try to retain the commis- 
sion which you are about to receive. The sur- 
geon-general told me only yesterday that he was 
almost afraid to issue it on account of your bad 
habits, and that he should keep his eye on you." 

'•My God, lose my commission? I had not 
thought of that. I had rather die than suffer sucK 
a calamity." 

140 A doctor's experiences 

'^ It is entirely with you to invite or to prevent 
it. Pledge me yonr word that you will give up 
drinking altogether, and then try honestly to keep 
it — always bearing in mind that to break it means 
a place in the ranks and a drunkard's grave." 

'^YeSj and I will do my level best to keep it. 
All ' celebrations ' may go to the devil," 

"Are you in earnest?" 

" Yes, in dead earnest." 

''Then repeat after me, slowly and distinctly : 
' I solemnly promise, on my honor as a man and 
as an officer, that from this time forward I will not 
take, even if prescribed by a physician, one drop of 
alcoholic stimulant, including whisky, brandy, 
gin, wines of all kinds, and malt liquors, so long 
as I live, so help me, God/" 

He repeated every word with emphasis, and 
added: ''Candidly, Ned, I have no faith in my 
honor as a man, but perhaps my honor as an offi- 
cer, backed up by the dread of losing my commis- 
sion, may hold water. At any rate I will do my 
best not to disappoint you. Good-bye, my dear 
friend. I shall never forget this visit to Rich- 
mond, and the most pleasant recollections of my life 
will have you as their head-center. Thank God, 
there is no liquor in camp, and I can't ' celebrate' 
with the boys if I wanted to." 

I have never met my friend and proselyte since, 
and I am unable to say whether he kept his word 
or not. I only know that he did not lose his com- 
mission during the war, and that he surrendered 
with General Lee at Appomattox. 

I have gone into the details of this incident be- 
cause it serves to show alike the fascination and 
the evils of drunkenness, and the difficulties which 
frequently surround the question of identity. 

After an intei val of only twelve years I meet one 


with wliom I had lived in the most intimate rela- 
tions for months and of whom a distinct picture 
remains in my memory, and yet I absolutely fail 
to recognize him on account of the complete trans- 
formation which has taken place in him, physi- 
cally^ mentall}^ and morally. 

I recollect, also^ having seen the Prince of Wales 
when he visited America, and of finding him twenty 
y^ears afterward so completely changed from the 
cadaverous, gaunt and awkward boy that he then 
was as almost to stagger me in regard to his iden- 

I am quite sure that the differences in physical 
traits and intellectual qualities which were proved 
to exist between the youth, Roger Tichborne, and 
the matured man, "the claimant," were not more 
radical than those which could be established in 
the case of my friend and that of the Prince of 

Although the claimant resorted to the most des- 
picable means to prove his case, I have always be- 
lieved him to be the veritable heir, and such I 
know to be the opinion of many intelligent and 
disinterested men in England and out of it. He 
deserved to be punished for his perjury and his at-, 
tempt at subornation, but not upon the evidence of 
non-identity, which was mainly relied upon by the 

I have met with persons who had forgotten their 
native tongue and were unable to make their wants 
known in it, while to forget a foreign language is 
<i matter of daily occurrence. I have even seen 
Americans who, after a very brief sojourn abroad, 
had become so thoroughly denationalized as scarcely 
to be able to recall their vernacular, so distorting 
it with alien idioms and foreign accentuations that 
the mothers who taught them to speak could 

142 A doctor's experiences 

scarcely understand what they were driving at even 
with the help of a dictionary and an interpreter. 

I am reminded here of a singular circumstance 
which has occurred in my own family. When my 
youngest daughter arrived in France she spoke 
only Arabic, but having acquired French she has- 
entirely forgotten the former language save when 
asleep. Night after night I hear her talking Arabic 
in her dreams, using words which she can neither 
recall nor understand when awake. 

During my residence in Philadelphia, in the 
latter part of 1850, the idea of using morphia hypo- 
dermically for the relief of pain occurred to my 
mind as an original conception. Taking the hint 
from its action upon a blistered and denuded surface, 
I concluded that it would act more promptly and 
efficiently if introduced under the skin, without 
being attended with greater danger. Filled with 
the idea I discussed it with my fellow students, and 
actually prepared a thesis for graduation recom- 
mending this method of treatment, and proposing 
to puncture with a lancet and then to introduce 
morphia in solution by means of Anel's syringe. 
Happening to meet one of the professors, I told 
him my plan of medication and attempted to discuss- 
it with him, but he took so discouraging a view of 
the subject — dwelling especially on the difficulty of 
limiting the effects of a narcotic thus introduced 
into the circulation — that I went home, and in a. 
state of despondency destroyed my thesis^ and 
presented another on scarlatination, or, in other 
words, the prevention of scarlet fever by repeated 
inoculations — the identical process which Pasteur 
has recently adopted in regard to rabies and others 
are proposing for cholera and yellow fever. Soon 
after my graduation I put my idea to a practical 
test by introducing the sixth of a grain of morphia 


under the skin of a patient suffering with a violent 
rheumatic pain of the forearm, with the result of 
giving immediate relief^ and without the induction 
of an unfavorable symptom. 

Although I do not pretend to be the inventor of 
the hypodermic syringe, I do claim to be the dis- 
coverer of hypodermic medication. This may seem 
a bold position, but I am prepared to show by incon- 
trovertible evidence that I conceived of hypodermic 
medication, ivrote on the subject, and practiced, it 
several years in advance of any other person.^ 

I have already related the circumstances under 
which I left Philadelphia without waiting to secure 
my diploma. This document, however, was taken 
possession of by a friend, and it hangs in my office 
to-day, having escaped the accidents of the war — a 
memento of past labors, and a reminder of human 
mortality, for every man whose name is attached 
to it Vias long since paid the debt of nature and 
gone to his rest. 

My eldest surviving sister, Jane, married, in the 
spring of 1853, Major Stephen T. Peters, of Virginia, 
a ripe scholar and a most charming man, and as 

^Apropos of this subject, I reproduce the subjoined letter 
from Dr. George F. Wilkins, of Northampton County, Vir- 
ginia, which settles the question of priority as to the discovery 
of hypodermic medication : 

"Eastville, Va., May 30, 1885. _ 
" My Dear Doctor: In reference to your inquiries I unhesi- 
tatingly state that I was your room-mate while you were 
engaged in the study of medicine in Philadelphia, in the 
winter of 1850-'51, and that you then conceived the idea of 
injecting morphia subcutaneously, and wrote a thesis recom- 
mending its administration in that manner for the relief of 

" I remain very truly, yours, 

" George F. Wilkins. 

" To Dr. Edward Warren-Bey, 

Paris, France." 


he had just returned from a trip abroad and was 
tilled with enthusiasm for things outremer^ he soon 
inspired me with an ardent desire to visit Paris, 
for the purpose of seeing its great hospitals and 
listening to its renowned professors. Having 
worked with great assiduity, I soon found myself 
in position to realize this wish, with which I was 
glad to find my father in the fullest sympathy, his 
kind heart prompting him to any sacrifice having 
for its object my advancement in medical knowledge 
and professional reputation. I therefore perfected 
my arrangements, and left home in the fall of 1854, 
expecting to spend a year abroad, and leaving many 
tearful eves behind me in old Eden ton. 




My Dear Doctor : 

I sailed from New York late in November, 1854, 
on the steamer " Pacific," of the Collins line, and, 
considering that she was a side-wheeler, and that 
it was the season of " storms," we had a good pass- 
a,ge_, and arrived at Queenstown on the morning of 
the tenth day. Only a little while before the 
steamer ''Arctic" had been run down off Cape 
Kace, carrying with her many valuable lives ; and 
as we passed the locality of the disaster every coun- 
tenance wore a somber aspect. We were the more 
disposed to gloom and apprehension because of the 
constant sounding of the fog-horn, which is not 
exhilarating, to say the least of it. Indeed, there 
is something so sepulchral in its notes that they 
bring visions of disaster to the minds of the bravest, 
whatever they may say or assume to the contrary. 
I once heard an old salt remark: ''Somehow I 
can't get used to the darn'd thing. I never hear 
it without wishing I was safely buried once and for 
all in the family graveyard on shore, where I 
could never hear it again." I appreciated his feel- 
ings, and sympathized with his sentiments to the 
fullest extent, especially on this occasion. Taking 
into account the number of ships that sail the sea, 
the difficulty of locating the sound when it is heard, 
^nd the fact that no response can be made by sail- 

146 A doctor's experiences 

ing vessels and icebergs, the wonder is that the 
number of recorded collisions is so limited. Doubt- 
less there are many whose histories are among the 
mysteries which the day of doom alone will disclose, 
for the merciless waves keep no record of their tri- 
uphs. This very ship, the ''Pacific," a few years 
subsequently, left Liverpool with a rich cargo and 
a full list of passengers, and was never heard of 
again — disappeared forever, without leaving a trace 
or a token behind. 

But no answer came to our warning signals, and 
we went on our way rejoicing at our good fortune^ 
and delighted to leave the Banks with their fogs 
and icebergs in our wake. 

I paid the usual tribute to old ocean, and was 
desperately sick for several days, unable to leave 
my berth, suffering with perpetual nausea, dis- 
gusted with life, and wishing myself "anywhere, 
anywhere out of the world." 

Sea-sickness is, indeed, a curious malady, and 
the theories which have been advanced concerning 
its etiology and the remedies recommended for its 
treatment are as numerous as the waves of the sea. 
Some persons escape it altogether, while others suf- 
fer from it invariably — no amount of experience or 
'precaution securing for them an exemption. 

I have crossed the ocean many times, and since my 
first voyage I have never experienced the slightest 
symptom of this malady, while Captain Nye told 
me that, although he had been a "sailor-man " for 
more than thirty years, he never escaped an attack 
of sea-sickness after leaving shore. The very young 
and the aged are but little liable to it, and readily 
recover when attacked. I am convinced that the 
affection is a composite phenomenon, resulting 
from the combined effects of shock to the nervous 
system and of the impression made upon the sen- 


sorium by the movement of the abdominal viscera, 
and the disturbed condition of the special senses. 
The nerve centers, being surprised by the sudden, 
unusual, and varied movements to which they are 
exposed, are incapable of responding with adequate 
supplies of nerve force, and, hence, vasor-motor 
disturbances manifest themselves in deranged ac- 
tion of the heart and arteries, in anaemia and 
abnormal irritability of the brain, and in disturb- 
ances of the secerning organs generally ; while the 
oscillation of the viscera contained in the abdomi- 
nal cavity, especially the stomach, together with 
the confused and peculiar impressions made upon 
the vision, hearing, taste, etc., completes the con- 
dition, makes up the pathological entity, to which 
the term sea-sickness is applied. The gastric dis- 
turbances, which constitute the most prominent 
symptoms and the chief sources of discomfort, are 
essentially secondary or reflex phenomena, and 
should not be confounded with the disease itself — 
should not be taken for causes 'when they are really 

The attack begins with a sense of giddiness and 
a feeling of sinking about the epigastrium, which 
are speedily followed by nausea, vomiting, loath- 
ing for food, a state of mental depression bordering 
on despair, constipation of the bowels, and cold- 
ness of the extremities. The matters vomited are 
acid, and contain mucus and large quantities of 
bile. The emesis continues or is reproduced whe i- 
ever food is seen or thought of. A certain amount 
of bile finds its way into the stomach, as there is a 
tendency to regurgitation. Indeed, it seems legiti- 
mate to conclude that the constipation which char- 
acterizes this affection is due in a measure to the 
fact that bile does not flow downward into the in- 
testines, but upward into the stomach. As a gen- 

148 A doctor's experiences 

era! rule, the nervous system gradually becomes 
accustomed to its surroundings, and learns to ac- 
commodate itself to the new condition of things ; 
the shocks are less felt and more appropriately re- 
sponded to ; the circulation gradually regains its 
equilibrium ; the brain grows more insensible to 
disturbances through the special senses ; the condi- 
tions which invite and facilitate reflex phenouiena 
are removed, and the symptoms dependent upon 
them ameliorate or subside ; and convalescence 
begins and continues until the normal state of 
health is re-established. 

Sometimes, however, reaction is delayed, and a 
chronic condition of nervous exhaustion remains, 
which is characterized by a constant disposition to 
vomit, coldness of the extremities, a sense of con- 
striction about the temples, attacks of syncope, 
insomnia or the opposite condition, and profound 
constipation. Then, again, there is occasionally 
associated with the subsidence of the more acute 
symptoms a febrile state either with or without 
gastritis, cerebritis or other local complication. 

With some nervous persons, especially those 
who have been unable to relieve themselves by 
vomiting, there is swooning with hysterical mani- 
festations of every known type and degree. 

It is a popular impression that pregnant women 
abort at sea. On the contrary as a general rule 
they do very well, especially if the voyage be made 
after the third and htfore the seventh month of 
uterine gestation, as I have learned from extensive 
observation. It has become fashionable of late for 
the newly married to take a trip abroad, and many 
a reluctant sweetheart is made a happy wife by the 
promise of such an excursion, not remembering 
that ''some things ma}" happen as well as others" 
over the sea. Indeed, I look forward with confidence 


to an annual harvest from the nauseated and dis- 
gusted bi'ides, who instead of having the gk)rious 
time abroad which fancy had pictured under the in- 
spiration of love's young dream," are compelled to 
pass their honeymoons in cheerless hotels or dismal 
pensions^ nauseated beyond expression or vomiting 
themselves nearly to death, and h4rrassed by the 
apprehension of their inability to return home until 
a baby and a nurse have been added to the menage. 
I generally succeed in soothing their rebellious 
stomachs by the liberal employment of the bro- 
mides, ingluvin and the oxalate of cerium, and in 
relieving their anxious minds by th.Q assurance 
that they can recross the ocean by quietly waiting 
until the third month of pregnancy has passed. I 
believe that I have been thanked on account of this 
assurance as often and as emphatically as for any 
other professional work and without a mishap in 
any instance. When a woman in an interesting 
condition crosses the sea, there seems to be ''a little 
cherub sitting up aloft' ' especially commissioned to 
protect her and the helpless babe she bears ; and 
you know that Denman long ago declared that 
"she who vomits most aborts least as a general 

,1 have noticed one thing which is rather strange 
and difficult to account for ; in many instances 
after attacks of sea-sickness the menstrual flow does 
not recur for a month or tv/o ; though the per- 
manganate of potash in two grain doses three times 
daily, for three or four days before the expected 
period, will generally reproduce it. 

The treatment of sea-sickness divides itself natu- 
rally into the employment o^ preventive and of cura- 
tive measures. 

I am convinced — and I speak advisedly — that in 
an immense majority of instances attacks of sea- 

150 A doctor's experiences 

sickness can be prevented, and by very simple 
measures. Should you contemplate another sea- 
voyage j my friend, let me advise you to trj^ the fol- 
lowing plan of preventive treatment: For one week 
before your departure take twenty grains of the bro- 
mide of sodium,, twenty grains of bicarbonate of 
soda, and one drachm of compound tincture of car- 
damon in two ounces of green-mint water, t^vo 
hours after each meal ; take a mild laxative, such 
as Jackson's aperient, compound liquorice powder 
or a seidlitz powder, every third morning at an 
early hour ; eat liberally of simple and easily-di- 
gested food ; drink with your meals a small quan- 
tity of the stimulant to which you are most accus- 
tomed ; and live as much as possible in the open 
air. After getting on shipboard, make it a point 
at once to eat a good meal of such food as I have 
just referred to ; to go on deck and remain station- 
ary there ; and to continue exactly the same treat- 
ment as I have prescribed for three or four days, 
when the laxative should only be employed accord- 
ing to the necessities of the system. After this, the 
brpmide can be diminished by five grains for each 
dose until the mixture contains none of it. Do 
these things with absolute regularity, and I will 
stake the best hat of the Boulevards against the 
poorest one in Baltimore that you will escape an 
attack of sea-sickness, and will feel better when you 
reach Liverpool than when you left New York. 

But if, perchance, you should find yourself sick 
at sea, then carry out to the letter the following 
system of treatment: go to your state-room, remove 
your clothes, get into your bej'th, and keep your 
head on the same level with your body ; inject 
hypodermically one- quarter of a grain of morphia 
with one-sixtieth of a grain of atropia ; cover your- 
self well and apply bottles of warm water to your 


feet, a bag of hot water to your spine, and a com- 
press saturated with a mixture of the tincture of 
iDelladonna and camphor water to the epigastrium, 
keeping it in position by means of a bandage tied 
tightly around the body ; stuff your ears with cot- 
ton wool, tie a handkerchief over your eyes, and 
smell cologne water or some agreeable perfume 
from time to time ; purify the atmosphere of your 
state-room with some disinfectant of a pleasant odor, 
say the spray of thymol or eucalyptus, or by burn- 
ing some aromatized pastile ; have the receptacle 
for the matters vomited perfumed and kept out of 
sight until it is required for use ; take ten grains 
of the bromide of sodium, ten grains of the bicar- 
bonate of soda, and one teaspoonful of com- 
pound tincture of cardamon in an ounce of green- 
mint water every second hour, and a half glass of 
milk with one tablespoonful of lime-water and two 
teaspoonfuls of brandy or old julep, or kirsch, each 
alternate hour, for six consecutive hours, unless 
sleep be induced in the mean time. 

At the earliest possible moment of recuperation 
go or be carried on deck and keep in a reclining 
position there, well wrapped up ; and finally, de- 
crease the remedies or extend the time for their 
administration and get back to your usual food 
through the intermediaries of beef tea, milk toast, 
farinaceous substances generally, ice-cream, etc. 
Be sure not to surfeit yourself with fruit, for it is 
only refreshing and diverting, and take care to 
drink not more than three or four sherry glasses of 
champagne during the day if it be taken at all. 
Do not forget to take a mikU laxative on the suc- 
ceeding morning, and afterward when indicated. 
This treatment will cure you promptly, and when 
the attack is over you will find that you have not 
lost strength, and are in condition to gratify the 

152 A doctor's experiences 

ravenous appetite whicli usually comes after an at- 
tack of sea-sickness. 

The great point to keep in mind is that hromin- 
ism antagonises that combination of morbid con- 
ditions which constitutes sea-sickness, and that the 
sooner it is induced and the more persistently it is 
maintained — provided the system be not permitted 
to become enfeebled by it — the greater is the cer- 
tainty of preventing an attack and of curing one 
after it has been developed. 

I made the acquaintance of some charming peo- 
ple, notably the Horners, of Philadelphia, Dr. Epps, 
of Virginia, Miss Matilda Heron, Dr. and Mrs. 
George, of Baltimore, with several of whom I had 
pleasant associations afterward, as I shall relate 
in the progress of this narrative. At Liverpool I 
stopped at the Adelphi Hotel, which was then the 
principal house of the city, and still compares favor- 
ably with its more modern and pretentious rivals. 
In this connection I would say that my experience 
of depot hotels has been unfortunate. As a general 
thing their principal stock in trade is convenience 
of location, while their guests get less of substan- 
tial comfort and more of unblushing impudence for 
their money than those of any other public houses 
upon this side of the "water." Certainly they 
are the darkest holes in existence, to judge from 
the number of bougies which illuminate V addition — 
it should be called la multiplication — with which 
their directors delight to speed the parting guest. 

I remember having been compelled to pay on one 
occasion for twenty-four candles which "mine host" 
declared had been consumed in two bed-chambers 
between the hours of six and ten P.. M., in a single 
night. A remonstrance, made in the mildest 
manner, only resulted in the payment of the bill 
on my part, and in a threat by the proprietor to 


have me arrested as a swindler. Siicli is the wicked- 
ness of the workl ! 

On the second day after my arrival I visited a 
small manufacturing town about sixty miles from 
Liverpool. The object of this visit was to take a 
small amount of money which a friend of mine — 
an Englishman residing in America^ had sent to his 
aged mother. He had requested me specially to 
deliver it into her hands, thinking she w^ould be 
pleased to see one who knew him personally, and 
who could tell her about him and his family. 

My friend had been successful in business, and 
having married a lady of position, had brought up 
his children to consider themselves aristocrats. 

I had great difficulty in finding the object of my 
search, as there was nothing to indicate the name 
of the street, and no numbers by w^hich to distin- 
guish the houses. Finally, by diligent inquiry, 
and the help of a policeman whose language I could 
understand, I found the residence of the lady. 
Ringing the bell, an old woman presented herself, 
clad in a calico frock which had seen better days, 
with a white cotton cap on her head and the 
stump of a pipe in her mouth, to whom I made my- 
self known and stated the object of my visit. Fol- 
lowing her into the humble abode — for, though I 
could not understand a w^ord that she said as she 
spoke the Lancashire dialect, I saw from her gestures 
that she desired me to enter — I immediately 
begged her to find an interpreter, which she did 
in the person of one of her granddaughters, a 
factory girl of eighteen. While she could under- 
stand me the young lady had to speak for her, and 
we had a long talk together in regard to her son 
and his children. Though she plied me wdth 
questions, I saw from her sighs^ tears and down- 
cast eyes that there was something on her mind 

154 A doctor's experiences 

which, though it troubled her greath^ she 
hesitated to ask about. Finally I said to her : 

^' Madam, I ara about to leave you, and if there 
is any further information I can give, don't hesitate 
to call for it. I shall be happy to answer your 

^' Well, sir," she said, growing red in the face 
and twisting the corner of her apron violently, 
^Hhere is one more question I would, indeed, like 
to ask. It is concerning a subject that has caused 
me many anxious thoughts, but that I feel a 
delicacy in talking about." 

'^I am at your service, madam; do just as 
you think best," said I, offering my hand, pre- 
paratory to leaving. 

"Oh, I can't let you go without getting satis- 
faction about the thing that has worried me so 
much^ for it has been near upon thirty years that 
I have thought about it and prayed over it, and so 
wished to know the exact truth in regard to it." 

"I shall be happy to put your mind at rest if I 
can. What would you like to know?" 

"Well, if I must I must, but you won't tell 
James that I asked you. What I want to know is 
this : are my grandchildren very black .?" 

" I confess that I do not know what you mean, 
Mrs. P. Are your grandchildren black T' 

" Yes, that is what I asked; and you don't know 
how it has pained me to think that James' children 
are black. Are they very black — as black as their 

" Why, madam, their mother is not a negress. 
She is as white as you or I, and so are her children. 
What could have put such an idea into your head?" 

" Thank the Lord ! Thank the good Lord ! I 
knew James had married an American woman, and 
I concluded of course that her children had her 


complexion. And my dear grandchildren are white 
after all ! Now I can die in peace." 

" Why, madam, I am an American and not black, 
as you see. What did you take me for?" 

'^Well. I can't say exactly. I thought you 
might have bleached your face white, or that both 
of your parents were English folks. I am so glad 
that you came. I am happier to-day than I have 
been for thirty long, long years, for I have been 
thinking all that time that my grandchildren were 
black, and praying the Lord to take some of the 
color out of them. Are you not deceiving me?" 

''No, madam, I am not deceiving you, and I 
rejoice that I have been the means of thus relieving 
and comforting you. It is worth a passage across 
the Atlantic to be the bearer of information which 
has given you so much pleasure." 

And I left her crying and thanking the Lord and 
blessing me — the happiest woman in all England 
that day. 

I have since found out that it is a common belief 
among the lower classes in England that all Ameri- 
cans are black, and hence the sorrow which had 
possessed this old woman's soul for so many years, 
and the joy which my coming brought to her. 

Many times afterward when I saw her son's 
family flourishing in society, and assuming the airs 
of aristocrats, I recalled the poor old woman over 
the ocean and the smile of joy which illuminated 
her countenance when she learned that her grand- 
children were not black, and that her son had after 
all married a white woman. 

Such is American aristocracy — its roots often 
running to a tattered calico gown or to a ''bob- 
tail" tobacco pipe in " the old countrie !" 

These were good people at heart, despite their 
aristocratic assumptions, and when I saw them re- 

156 A doctor's experiences 

duced to poverty by the war and compelled to work 
as their fathers had done before them, my heart 
went out to them in a full tide of regret and sym- 
pathy. So runs the world away, and it is thus that 
the pride is taken out of men in ways which they 
have not calculated upon or dreamed of. 

Speaking of mushroom aristocracy reminds me 
of an incident which occurred a few years since at 
a European watering-place, where, for the nonce, 
it was reigning triumphantly. An American gen- 
tleman, Mr. P., of New Orleans, was spending the 
summer there very quietly, but as he had neither 
the talent nor the inclination to court ''the set" 
who had appropriated the place, they turned up 
their noses at him and condemned him to an absolute 
social ostracism. 

One day I overheard the following conversation 
between a real American lady, who had married a 
foreigner of distinction, and a ''young blood" not 
remarkable for his intelligence or for his indepen- 
dence of character : 

"Well, Mr. X.," she said, "do tell me what 
you all have against Mr. P., for he seems to be a 
gentleman, and to have as much money as the rest 
of you?" 

"Oh! I have nothing against him personally, 
but they do say some rather hard things about 

" What do they say about him ?" 

" I don't want to be mixed up with the affair, 
and don't like to mention what they charge him 
with . ' ' 

" Do they reflect on his moral character ?" 

"No ; not at all." 

" Do they question his intelligence ?" 

" No." 
"Do they doubt his integrity?" 


" Do they say that he is poor?" 


" Then I insist upon knowing what they do say 
to his discredit." 

"Well;, madam, entrenous, and in the strictest 
confidence — but mind, I know nothing about it my- 
self — they say that he actually commenced life as a 
shoemaker, and made his money by getting a run 
on his gaiters." 

"And you had cut him on that account ?" 

"Well, yes; I was obliged to do it. They all 
cut him for it, and I had to do the same." 

" Now, just let me say a word to you, Mr. X., 
and you must not be offended : I knew your father 
when he kept a candy shop in the Bowery, and I 
knew the ancestors of every one in your ' set,' and 
they all kept shops or worked for a living. Now, 
we are a nation of shop-keepers and working-men, 
and for Americans to come abroad and put on such 
airs as you and your friends are assuming here is 
simply ridiculous. Even if Mr. P. was originally 
a shoemaker, and has accumulated enough money 
to educate himself, and nothing can be said against 
his character or his deportment, those who ' throw 
stones' at him ought to remember what their 
fathers were and who they are. My husband shall 
call on him to-morrow and invite him to our house, 
so as to show him that he is not surrounded entirely 
by snobs and parvenus. Such conduct as you and 
your ' set' have been guilty of makes me blush 
for my country, while it excites universal disgust 
with the respectable people of this community." 

The young man, though not a Solomon, was 

good-hearted aufond, and he promptly answered : 

"You strong, Mrs. Y., but you are right. 

I am ashamed of the part I have taken in this 

158 A doctor's experiences 

matter, aad I, too, shall call on him and treat him 
hereafter as a gentleman. Besides, there is na 
proof that he was a shoemaker, and he certainl}^ 
dresses as well as the best of them.'' 

Both parties carried out their intentions, and in 
a few days there was a complete reaction in favor 
of the quondam shoemaker, and nothing further 
was said to his discredit. 

I had made the acquaintance on ship-hoard of 
a young American woman who was en route to 
France, at the invitation of the Emperor to intro- 
duce the sewing-machine, and I had the good for- 
tune to meet her and her friends again at the sta- 
tion and to travel with them to -Paris. I was 
struck with her intelligence and her independence 
of character, and I bade her adieu, fully partici- 
pating in her bright anticipations of the future, 
but never expecting to see her again. More than 
twenty-five years afterward I returned to Paris, 
arid one of my first patients was the wife of a lead- 
ing American dentist. After having known her 
for several years, and having prescribed for her 
frequently, I was struck one day with something 
in the tones of her voice which set me thinking of 
the past. 

"Will you excuse me,'-' said I, "if I ask you 
when you first came to Paris?" 

"Certainly. It was in the winter of 1854." 

"And you crossed the ocean in the Pacific?" 


"And you came at the invitation of the Emperor 
to introduce and explain the sewing-machine?" 

" Yes. But who made you so wise?" 

" Do you remember one of ycwir fellow-passen- 
gers — a young physician who w^as coming abroad 
to study his profession, and who took a great lik- 
ing to you?" 



'^ 1 remember him perfectly, though I have for- 
gotten his name. He was certainly very polite, 
and I have often wondered what had become of 
him. Do you know him?" 

"Yes, madam, I have known him intimately 
for years. His name is Warren, and he stands be- 
fore you. I am the man.'' 

"Impossible! Absolutely impossible. Doctor! 
You are only joking." 

"But why impossible?" 

" Simply because — because — he was a far better 
lookino; man than vou are, if vou will excuse me 
for saying so." 

"Ah, madam, he had the advantage of me by 
twenty-five years, and in the fact that he had 
never known then a real care or sorrow ; but, nev- 
ertheless, he and I are one and the same man. I 
am what remains of the young doctor who crossed 
the ocean with you." 

" Then I am doubly your friend — for the good 
you have done me professionally and for old ac- 
quaintance sake as well," she said, shaking me 
warmly by the hand ; and I can add that I have 
never had a more faithful friend in Paris. 

When I questioned her about the sewing-ma- 
chine and the millions that she supposed to be in 
it, she told me substantially the same story which 
I have heard from so many of my fellow-country- 
men, who have sought to realize fortunes by intro- 
ducing American inventions into France. She 
was well received ; she had an audience with the 
Emperor, and she worked the machine to his en- 
tire satisfaction. It was adopted by the govern- 
ment for the war department; but instead of giv- 
ing her and those she represented an order, the 
French authorities went quietly to work and re- 
produced the machine from her model, manufac- 

160 A doctor's experiences 

tured as many as they wanted, and left her '^ out' 
in the cold,'" with hut the scantiest remuneration 
and without the slightest chance of redress. She 
then had to bestir herself to keep the wolf from 
th(^ door — she had to paddle her own canoe or to 
go under, which she did not propose to do if she 
knew herself. Many women would have gone to 
the devil, biit she went to work, and by the force 
of her own will and her marriage with a man who 
though not rich had the right stuff in him, she 
has come to be prosperous and is in a fair way to 
make a fortune. As I feel a personal interest in 
this good woman's fight witii the world and its 
fortunate issue, I take delight in chronicling it 
here as an illustration of what American pluck 
can do when it unfurls its flag and takes the field, 
whatever may be the odds against it or however • 
adverse the circumstances by which it is sur- 

Her husband has a history as well, and an honor- 
able one. Though a native of Ohio — the mother of 
lucky men — he was residing in Mississippi when 
the war broke out, and the "conscription," which 
respected neither age, nor condition, nor antece- 
dents, put him in the army and sent him to the 
front. Out of respect for his weight and proportions^ 
he was promoted from his place as high private to 
the position of chief cook of the regiment, and when 
Fort Pillow fell he was carried to Elmira and im- 
prisoned in the stockades. There his friends found 
him and secured his liberation, supposing he would 
hasten to take up arms against those who had 
made him a soldier malgre lui and condemned him 
to boil greens in the kitchen rather than reap 
laurels in the trenches. The sequel shows that 
there was something besides adipose in that capa- 
cious breast of his ; for, remembering the kindness 


which he had received at the hands of his South ~ 
ern friends, and feeling no resentment against a 
law which though harsh in its operations was a 
necessity in itself, he resolved to remain a neutral 
in the fight. Influenced by these feelings he came 
to Paris, weak in purse but strong in the knowl- 
edge of his art, and in that courage which awaits 
its opportunity and then goes in and wins. When 
the Commune raised its blood-stained banner and 
attempted to make up in atrocity that which it 
wanted in courage — appalling mankind and dis- 
gracing humanity and outraging heaven by the 
very wantonness of its crimes — he was residing in 
the neighborhood of the Madeleine. Finding one 
day a poor priest in danger of his life from the in- 
furiated rabble, he rescued him at great personal 
risk, carried him to his apartment, and gave him 
an asylum there until the peril had passed and 
order was restored. Though not a Catholic in re- 
ligion, for this act of mercy and heroism the Pope 
created him a "Chevalier of the Order of 8t. 
Gregory," the King of Spain made him a " Knight 
of the Order of Isabella the Catholic," the French 
government gave him the " Cross of the Legion of 
Honor," and the congregation of the church over- 
whelmed him with a patronage from which he is 
reaping a golden harvest. From this you will see 
that the husband of my old friend of the " Pacific 
is no ordinary man — that he is, in fact, a hero and 
a humanitarian. His name is E. B, Loud, and he 
resides on the Boulevard Malesherbes, where he 
pursues his vocation as humbly and as successfully 
as if his life was passed without an incident or an 
honor. > 

162 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

On my arrival at Paris I put up at the Hotel de 
Lille et cV Albion, wliicli then occupied the present 
site of the Hotel St. James in the Rue St. Honore, 
and joined my friend Dr. Epps, who had preceded 
me by a day or two. 

One of the earliest and most agreeable of my ex- 
periences was a dinner given by Dr. Epps at Phil- 
lippes — then noted for its fish specialties — for it 
proved at once the source of new sensations and of 
enduring memories. Since then I have been en- 
abled to appreciate the significance of the exclama- 
tion which couples the " Gods and the little fishes, '^ 
and I have felt assured that the invocation originated 
with the primal ancestor of the cook who conceived 
the dainty dishes upon which we regaled ourselves 
on that memorable occasion. 

In those times the Palais Royale was the center 
from which emanated the laws of gastronomy for 
the world. Its restaurants and cafes surpassed in 
the splendor of their appointments, the magnifi- 
cence of their cuisines and the richness of their 
caves all that epicurianism had previously dreamed 
of. Their chefs were known and their menus were 
sought after wherever the language of France was 
spoken and as far as her renown had penetrated. In 
truth, the French people having been diverted from 


the eternal study of politics by the strong hand of 
their new master, had abandoned themselves to the 
gratification of their appetites, and transformed 
the abodes of their former kings into temples of 
gluttony, wherein sensuality held perpetual carni- 
val, with cooks and caterers as its high priests and 

It was, indeed^ a new revelation to wander 
through the long corridors, so rich in architectural 
treasures and historic associations, and to w^atch 
the throngs of gourmands as they hurried to the 
groaning tables, and to listen to the perpetual re- 
frain of clinking glasses and hilarious laughter 
and hurrying feet, and the commingling voices of 
impatient guests and obsequious garcons, which 
told of the saturnalia that reigned within. 

With the overthrow of the empire and the in- 
auguration of the special political era which ha& 
succeeded it — for from the humblest chiffonier to 
the serenest prince every Frenchman is now devot- 
ing himself to public affairs — epicurianism has 
waned and the glory of the Palais Koyale has de- 

This reversion of the popular mind to politics — 
to the overthrow of cabinets, the making of presi- 
dents, and the establishment of dynasties, together 
with the fact that fickle fashion has turned its face 
up-townward, has left that quartier almost exclu- 
sively to the frequenters of second-class brasseries y 
dealers in imitation jewelry, keepers of tobacco 
shops and foreign tourists, who with red guide books 
and dust-covered garments can be daily found there 
collecting materials for their diaries, and doing 
Paris to their own satisfaction and to the utter dis- 
gust of its inhabitants. 

While Les Irois Freres, Phillippes, VefourSy 
etc., have become things of the past, Bignon, 


Voisin, and the Cafe Anglais have "come to the 
front,"' and though less frequented than their 
predecessors in puhlic favor, they are likely to con- 
tinue la mode until society has assumed a new 
phase under the impetus of another revolution. 

What strange creatures are the French ! They 
are happy only when the}^ have found a new ob- 
ject upon which to lavish their caresses or to ex- 
pend their malignity — something to crown either 
with laurels or with thorns. Their element is ex- 
tremes, whether it be in the worship of kings or of 
regicides — the deification of their consciences or 
the indulgence of their passions — the annihilation 
of their enemies or the destruction of each other.. 
And yet where would art and science and civil- 
ization be without them? What people have ex- 
pended their treasures and spent their blood so 
lavishly for humanity? What page in history is 
illustrated with nobler sacrifices and more glorious 
deeds than theirs? 1 must confess that when I 
contemplate the "red ribbon" upon my breast, 
and remember that it represents " the Legion of 
Honor of France," my heart beats with a quicker 
impulse and a prouder thrill, and I feel that it 
transcends in value all the honors which the na- 
tions of the earth combined could give. 

The great rivals of the cafe^ as well as of the 
domestic circle are the clubs of Paiis. Since the 
limitation of lyuhlic gambling to the principality of 
Monaco, 'private play has assumed enormous pro- 
portions. Like a great colossus it now bestrides 
society, while religion and morality lie writhing 
beneath its feet. The propensity to seek recreation 
or occupation in gambling seems to be the predomi- 
nating impulse of the modern Frenchman. Feel- 
ing its domination and appreciating its power,' he 
makes no attempt at resistance, and becomes at 


once its slave and its victim. The very fact of the- 
law's intervention gives a keener relish to its in- 
dulgence, by appealing to his natural inclination to 
rebellion and to his inherent love of excitement. 
Cupidity also plays an important role in stimulat- 
ing this vicious appetite, for a passion for dis- 
play and a devotion to pleasure cannot be indulged 
in without money, and the gaming table offers, 
consequently, a special and perpetual temptation 
to the gentlemen of this country. 

With strange inconsistency, public gambling is 
made a crime while private gambling is encouraged 
by the licensing of circles, which are notoriously 
organized for its indulgence. While chiefly used 
for this purpose they possess, nevertheless, all the 
appurtenances of veritable clubs, and they seek to 
rival each other in the excellence of their caves 
and the magnificence of their cuisines as a means 
of attracting membersliip and of securing the at- 
tendance of those whose names are already upon 
their rolls. It is tlius that they have become the 
successful rivals of the cafes as well as the de- 
stroyers of the home life of the Parisians. 

From what I have seen of the effect of tlie legal 
restrictions imposed upon public gambling, I am 
convinced that it would be far wiser either to pro- 
hibit play entirely or to license ma.isons de Jeu,. 
placing them under strict. police surveillance. 

When certain myopic philanthropists have suc- 
ceeded in their crusade against Monaco — which is 
the " last lone asylum " of gambling in Europe — 
so far from stamping out this vice, as they exjject 
to do, they will find that they have only stimulated 
and increased it ; that while damming the stream 
and closing its outlet, they have only caused it to 
overflow its banks and to cover a wider area. The 
scenes which now disgrace Monte Carlo will then 

166 A doctor's experiences 

be repeated in every capital of Europe and es- 
pecially in Paris, with an increased frec[uency and 
an exaggeration of incident. 

I am no advocate of gambling or apologist for 
tbe gambler — on the contrary, I abhor the one and 
despise the other — but I am convinced that there 
are certain weaknesses or vices of human nature 
which must have their '' run " in spite of every 
effort to prevent them, and that it is wiser to direct 
and regulate them than to attempt the useless task 
of proscribing them by an appeal to legal enact- 
ments. How many drunkards have been reformed 
by the Maine liquor law ? To what extent has the 
€ause of temperance been promoted by prohibitory 
enactments ? 

By the kind assistance of Dr. Epps, I was soon 
installed at No. 10, Rue de Buci, in the famous 
Latin Quartier, and I went diligently to work visit- 
ing the hospitals and attending the lectures of such 
of the professors as had most reputation at the 
time. Of the hospitals I was most attracted by 
the Hotel Dieu, La Chariie, Le Midi, and La Fiiie, 
for I had the pleasure of meeting in their wai'ds 
Trousseau, Velpean, Piorry, Robin, Nelaton, Jo- 
bert de Lambell, Ricord, Maissonneuve, .Audral 
and Dubois — men who have never been surpassed 
in learning, skill and the power of impressing the 
minds of those who listened to their instruction. 
I regarded it as a special blessing and privilege 
thus to see and hear these great men ; and I 
labored faithfully to take in and store up the in- 
iormation which they sought to impart to their ad- 
miring students. Many a time in after life^ alike 
amid the swamps of Carolina, the battle-fields of 
Virginia, the sands of Egypt, and the quartiers of 
Paris — in the hour of supreme anxiety and re- 
sponsibility — I have had occasion to avail myself 

IN THREE continents". 167 

of the knowledge which they imparted and have 
paid them the tribute of my warmest gratitude. 

With a single exception all of them have paid 
the debt of nature, and their places have been 
filled and the busy world has forgotten them ; but 
they still live in the memory of those who listened 
to their worc^ of wisdom and eloquence as well as 
upon the proudest pages in the history of medicine. 

The only survivor of this splendid galaxy of 
great men is the venerable Ricord, who at the ad- 
vanced age of eighty years still pursues his pro- 
fession with a zeal and an energy unsurpassed by 
the youngest of his brethern. Nor is he only an 
accomplished specialist, such as the professional 
world has long regarded him. He is emphatically 
a great physician in all regards, and as a general 
consultant he has few equals and no superiors. I 
have repeatedly called on him in difficult cases of 
every variety, and I have been invariably impressed 
by his consummate skill as a diagnostician, his 
profound knowledge of medicine^ and the richness 
and variety of his store of remedial agents, together 
with his great urbanity and goodness of heart. 

He is, as you know, a Marylander by birth, and 
his attachment to his native country and his devo- 
tion to his compatriots have always been extreme. 
I must confess that when I have seen him on 
public occasions — his breast covered with the dec- 
orations wliich he has received for professional 
triumphs and his devotion to humanit}^, and the 
object of universal interest and respect — I have felt 
proud to recognize him as an American, and more 
in love than ever with my native land. 

I once asked him, ''How it was that he had 
managed to survive so many of his contemporaries, 
and to preserve so marvelously his health and 
faculties?'* He smiled, and answered: "By re- 

168 A doctor's experiences 

solving not to permit myself to become fatigued — 
by takinjJT two davs of holiday out of every week 
and spending at my country seat in the fresh air, 
removed from work and responsibility." He takes 
no single vacation as many of our physicians do in 
order to recuperate their wasted energies, but he 
precludes the possibility of his becoming fatigued 
and prostrated by separating himself from the 
cares and responsibilities of business, in the manner 
that he explained to me. The result demonstrates 
the wisdom of his plan of prevention, for though 
an octogenarian, he is as actively engaged in pro- 
fessional work, and with a mind as vigorous and a 
zeal as fervid as when I knew him thirty years 


He is, indeed, a great and glorious old man, an 
honor alike to the country of his nativity and of 
his adoption, a shining light in the profession of 
his choice, and an ornament to society, which he 
still affects, and from w^hich he receives an exhaust- 
less tribute of reverence and admiration. 

It is true that the theories w^ith which he once 
astonished the world and made himself famous have 
been left amid the debris which the stream of time 
has collected upon its shores, but it is equally 
certain that he made great advances in his specialty, 
and that his labors and researches opened the way 
to the attainment of a far more correct and certain 
knowledge of its essential nature and clinical 
history than would have been possible without 
them. If his doctrines did not embody the absolute 
truth, they were most closely related to it — they 
were what the '' outer-reef" is to the "mainland/' 
a proof of its proximity and a guide to its shores. 
At any rate, the name of Ricord has gone around 
the world, and will live while ^Esculapius has a 
temple or science a worshiper upon the earth. 


I frequented the hospital of La Charlie, as I have 
already mentioned, for I had there an opportunity 
of witnessing the operations of Yelpeau and of hear- 
ing the clinical lectures of Piorry, as well as of re- 
ceiving private instruction in auscultation and per- 
cussion from an interne who has since played a con- 
spicuous part in medicine, and of whom I shall 
speak more particularly hereafter. 

We are all prone to form, ideals of those whose 
hooks we read and of whom we hear much, and I 
naturally expected to find in Velpeau a man cast in 
the heroic mold. You can therefore understand my 
disappointment when I saw him enter the arena at 
La Charife, and found him a bent, w izen- faced , 
watery-eyed, desiccated, diminutive old man, with 
so indistinct, an intonation and so rapid an enun- 
ciation as to render it difficult to understand a 
word he said. I was about to give expression to 
my disappointment in a hasty retreat wdien he took a 
knife in his hand, and I determined to wait and wit- 
ness the operation which he proposed to perform. In 
an instant a complete change came over the man. 
The touch of the instrument seemed to send an 
electric shock through his entire frame, unsealing 
the fountains of vitality and transforming him into 
a new being. The stoop disappeared from his 
shoulders and he stood as erect and stately as a 
soldier on duty ; his lack-luster eyes regained their 
normal brilliancy and gleamed like those of an 
eagle; his wrinkled countenance expanded under 
the stimulus of a more rapid blood current, and 
assumed the hue and aspect of vigorous manhood ; 
and he looked in all respects the hero and the 
surgeon that he was, and that the world recognized 
him to be. 

From that time forward I never missed one of 
his clinics, for I felt always that I was in the pres- 

170 A doctor's experiences 

eace of a master — of one whose genius threw a 
spell of fascination over all that he said and did. 

Piorry was not simply an enthusiast on the sub- 
ject of physical diagnosis, but a monomaniac. He 
seemed to think that the whole art of ph3^sic con- 
sisted in ascertaining the nature and the extent of 
lesions, and then in verifying the diagnoses by a 
post mortem examination. With the cure of disease 
he did not concern himself, leaving the result to 
nature alone. The domain of therapeutics was to 
him a terra incognita, into which he never entered 
save with halting steps and the air of an alien and 
an intruder. 

I have repeatedl}^ seen him trace upon the sur- 
face the exact seat and the gradual extension of the 
malady, and then patiently await the conclusion, 
in order to demonstrate the correctness of his ori- 
ginal diagram. Strange to relate, the patients 
soon accustomed themselves to this mapping-out 
process, and took as lively an interest in the extend- 
ing lines as if they were to participate in their ul- 
timate verification, and in the applause which was 
to greet the professor's final triumph as a diagnos- 
tician and a limner. This system of ante-mortem 
delineation and i^ost-mortem verification of pen-and- 
ink sketches upon the integuments of the living 
and scalpel demonstrations upon the organs of the 
dead always seemed to me the ne plus ultra of 
scientific infatuation, to say nothing of its cold- 
blooded cruelty. It was surely a peculiar way of 
combatting disease and of teaching the healing art, 
and despite his zeal and learning, I looked upon 
Piorry as a hybrid^ to which the charlatan and the 
doctor had furnished an equal proportion of com- 
ponent elements. This idea perhaps does injustice 
to his character and acquirements, BS he was greatly 
esteemed by his contemporaries, and as his funeral, 


which took place only a year or two since, was at- 
tended by the leading medical men of Paris, all of 
whom testified to his worth as a man and to his 
merits as a physician. 

I accidentally made the acquaintance of one of 
his intey^nes, a young man whose serious mien and 
accurate knowled2;e of the English language at- 
tracted me from our first meetino^. Finding; him 
unusually well informed and willing to teach, I 
engaged him to give me private instructions in 
physical diagnoses, and induced several compatriots 
to join the class. This relation ripened into a warm 
friendship, and the more intimately I became ac- 
quainted with him the greater grew my respect for 
his character and my admiration of his genius. 
After a pleasant intercourse we parted in 1855 — I 
to return to the swamps of North Carolina, and he 
to remain in Paris — the best of friends and with 
reciprocal good wishes, but without a thought that 
our paths would meet again. Twenty-five years 
afterward I was standing on the Boulevard des 
Capucines, when a friend said to me : ''Look, there 
goes the great doctor of Paris in that carriage with 
the two fine horses.'^ I looked in the direction in- 
dicated_, and, to my astonishment and delight, 
recognized my former preceptor and old friend, Dr. 
Charcot. I had often heard of Charcot in the 
years which intervened between '55 and '75, and I 
had read with delight the works which had ema- 
nated from his prolific pen, but it had never entered 
my head that the humble interne of La Charite was 
the great professor whose fame had compassed the 

I immediately addressed a note to him, and with- 
out alluding to our past relations asked if he re- 
membered me. He replied at once that he remem- 
bered me well, and would be glad to have me call 

172 A doctor's experiences 

upon him at the earliest convenient moment. I 
went to his house on the succeed ino; clay^ and was 
received as a friend and brother — with a warmth 
and kindliness which I can never forget. After 
giving a rapid sketch of his career, which had only 
been a succession of triumphs where competition was 
most active and jealousy not the less vindictive, and 
hearing what I had to say about myself, he said to 
me : 

" Is there anything I can do for you ; any way 
in which I can conduce to your welfare or advance 
your interests ?" 

'^ Yes, doctor ; you have it in your power to do 
me a great service — one for which I shall be eter- 
nally grateful." 

'' Name it, and count me at your service." 

"Well, it is simply this: I cannot return to 
Egypt because Dr. Landolt tells me that another 
attack of ophthalmia will result in the loss of my 
left eye. I desire, therefore, to remain in Paris, 
and to practice medicine, which I cannot do with- 
out a legal authorization. Will you use your in- 
fluence to obtain this concession for me?" 

" What you ask is difficult to obtain. The 
faculty has taken position against these ^ minis- 
terial authorizations,' and I am one of those who 
have most persistently opposed them. How then 
can I recommend you in the very teeth of my known 
opposition to such recommendations ? I wish sin- 
cerely to serve you, but I really do not see my way 
clear in the matter." 

"I will leave it to you, but I most earnestly en- 
treat you to do it if you can. Excuse my impor- 
tunity. I lia\^e so much at stake that I am forced 
to be persistent." 

" My dear friend, I will do my best, and if I fail 
attribute the failure to anything else than a sincere 



desire to serve you. . Have 3^011 forwarded your ap- 

''Yes; on yesterday." 

'^I will go then at once and look into the mat- 
ter. You will hear from me after a few days." 

' ' Thanks ! I will trust implicitly to your friend- 
ship, and I shall be equally grateful whether you 
succeed or not. l^ow, adieu, for I have already 
trespassed too long." 

I will only add that after the lapse of a few 
weeks I did receive the authorization, and I have 
reason to know that it was obtained naainly through 
the influence of Charcot. I have also to thank Dr. 
Ricord for a kind letter of recommendation in this 
regard, v/hich, doubtless, had its weight as well. 

Thus was it demonstrated that neither the gilt 
of exalted genius nor the possession of the highest 
distinctions nor the command of unlimited wealth 
nor aught else that is calculated to intoxicate or 
pervert human nature could warp the soul of this 
great and good man wdien friendship made its ap- 
peal, and that a spirit of genuine loyalty still ex- 
ists among men. I can never live long enough to 
show the full extent of my. appreciation of his act 
of kindness, not alone on account of the friendly 
sentiments which it manifested, but because the 
favor came at the most critical moment in my life's 

With Charcot's professional labors and triumphs 
the world is familiar, and I relate this incident to 
show that not less as a gentleman than as a scien- 
tist he stands pre-eminent — primus inter pares. 

I was greatly pleased with Nelaton, the surgeon 
of the Ecole Fractique, who was then in the prime 
of manhood and the flood tide of professional suc- 
cess. Though not specially attracting by his en- 
thusiasm and brilliancy, he had a certain composed 
and self-confident manner about him which greatlv 

174 A doctor's experiences 

impressed his auditors and drew large crowds to 
his lectures and clinics. He possessed a stately and 
commanding person ; a large and well-developed 
head; an oval face, with finely-cut features^andkindly 
eyes of hluish gray ; a graceful carriage and a 
pleasing address; a remarkably fluent delivery, 
a hand of unfaltering steadiness and an exquisite 
delicacy of touch. 

Alike from his plain, practical, and perspicuous 
lectures, and from his well-planned and admirably- 
executed operations, I derived much benefit, and I 
have always remembered my former master with 
feelings of commingled pleasure and gratitude. If 
he had done nothing more than invent the catheter 
which bears his name, and discovered the process 
for inverting the body in chloroform narcosis, he 
would have well merited the applause of contem- 
poraries and the homage of posterity. 

Trousseau was then at the zenith of his fame 
and popularity. He was certainly the ablest diag- 
nostician I ever knew^ and his power of analysis 
was not surpassed in his generation. With this 
gift of eloquence he could render any subject at- 
tractive, and I followed him with ever-increasing 
admiration and enthusiasm. 

I was particularly struck with his politeness and 
tenderness toward his patients. He never forgot 
that they were human beings^ and that his obliga- 
tion wsis first to them ; that his special mission was 
the relief of their sufferings and the cure of their 
diseases. France has produced few such physi- 
cians and teachers, and modern medicine must ac- 
knowledge its indebtedness to him for its most 
complete and philosophic work on therapeutics. 
He died shortly after I left Paris, and at a com- 
paratively early age, to the infinite regret, not 
alone of those wdio w^ere connected with him by 
personal relations, but of the disciples of science 


throughout the world. He was truly a great phy- 
sician and a thorough gentleman. 

Jobert de Larabelle was also flourishing at the 
Hotel DieUy and if there ever was a madman in the 
ranks cf the profession, it was he. He was a sur- 
geon of skill and dash, and his special infatuation 
was the cauterization of wombs. He believed that 
all the ills which feminine flesh is heir to origi- 
nated either in an ulcerated or a cancerous condi- 
tion of the uterus, and he kept a supply of iron 
cauteries with which, through an ivory or horn 
speculum, he seared the cervix of every woman 
who entered his wards. Twice each week he held 
his grand clinics in the amphitheater, at which he 
did this operation on so large a scale that the at- 
mosphere of the room was rendered insufl'erable by 
the fumes and smoke of cauterized uterine tissues, 
while on every morning he subjected some " poor 
unfortunate" to the same fiery ordeal We called 
his clinics the " barbecues" and his daily cauteriza- 
tions the ^ ^ sbislW irj ," while the surgeon himself 
was designated by the suggestive names of '' Le 
Chef;' •' Old Griddle," and '' Dr. Beelzebub ;" for 
students the world over will have their fun, and 
their caustic wit is no respecter of persons or of 
circumstances. This was my first experience with 
gynoecologists, and it sowed the seeds of a prejudice 
against their specialty which time has only served 
to deepen and to intensify. One of the most dis- 
tinguished physicians of New York — a leading 
professor, and a late president of the American 
Medical Association — recently remarked to me that 
he believed "the race would be better off had 
gynoecology never been invented," meaning that 
the injury which bunglers, enthusiasts, and char- 
latans have done in this connection greatly out- 
weighs the good which others have accomplished, 
and I am disposed to agree with him. 

176 A doctor's experiences 

Do not understand me as saying that there are 
not cases of uterine disease which require appro- 
priate local treatment, or that all who devote them- 
selves to this branch of medicine are corrupt or in- 
competent. I believe that the comfort of many a 
woman has been promoted by the means thus in- 
voked, and that there are men in the ranks of this 
specialty who honor their profession by their skill 
and their integrity. I would only enter ni}^ pro- 
test against that incessant and insatiable search 
for uterine maladies — that persistent and uncom- 
promising crusade against the uterus — which gives 
nature scarcely time for the performance of its 
functions, and makes women nurses of wombs in- 
stead of mothers of children. I simply take the 
position that if this abuse of gynoecology is in- 
separably associated with the practice of it, com- 
mon sense commingles its voice with that of com- 
mon humanit}" in regretting its discovery and de- 
manding its limitation. 

It is impossible to deny the fact ''that this 
specialty opens the door wider to fraud and char- 
latanism than any other. Only one eye looks 
through the speculum to decide the question of 
treatment, and to determine its results. The 
gynoecologist is in the very nature of things above 
criticism, beyond censure, and the absolate master 
of the situation — directed by nothing save his in- 
dividual judgment, and restrained only by his in- 
herent sense of right. The temptation, therefore, 
to do that out of which reputation can be made 
and money coined is great — greater than in any 
other "field connected with the profession — and it 
requires a level head and a loyal heart, indeed, to 
keep the gynoecologist always in the path of recti- 
tude. Besides, say what you may, it does break 
down the barriers which nature has erected between 
the two sexes, and is ipso facto demoralizing both 


to the doctor and to the patient ; and if there be 
any place for the female physician, it surely is 
within the domain of this especial branch of the 
healing art. These may be heterodox views, but 
they are nevertheless honest ones. 

But to return to Jobert. He was a curiosity in 
every respect ; he believed that he was the greatest 
of living surgeons, and he did not hesitate to say 
so on all occasions. 

He never appeared before his class without hav- 
ing his hair elaborately dressed, curled and per- 
fumed ; while he arrayed his person in gorgeous 
apparel, covered his fingers with the choicest rings, 
and wore in his scarf a diamond of great value ; 
and, yet, with all these peculiarities, he lectured 
well and operated magnificently. Of the number 
of cervical canals which were occluded by his in- 
strumentality I am unable to form a proper esti- 
mate, but I am convinced that there were enough 
of them to seriously interfere with the po23ulation 
of Paris. Those hot irons of his cost France many 
a good soldier. 

An old friend, Mr. J. Little Smith, of Mobile, 
Ala. — a scholar and a gentleman — with his young 
and charming wife, then resided in Paris, and their 
house was the home of a never-failing hospitality. 
Many a pleasant hour did I spend with them in 
the Rue Florentin, listening to the madam's superb 
voice, or ''tripping the light fantastic" with fair 
country women or enjoying their sumptuous 
" spreads " or talking about old times and mutual 
friends in Carolina. They were to have a ball on 
a certain occasion, and I had promised to attend. 
Indeed, I was looking forward to the entertain- 
ment with great pleasure, the more so as I had en- 
gaged to dance the first quadrille with a beautiful 
girl from the South. The evening arrived, and I 

178 A doctor's experiences 

hailed it with delight. Having visited the harber^, 
and had him exhaust his skill upon me, I returned 
home and commenced my toilet, filled with pleas- 
urable anticipations and resolved upon looking my 
best. When about half dressed I pulled out the 
drawers in which my " Sunday clothes " had been 
carefully put away — found it empty. Further in-- 
vestigations showed that my entire wardrobe had 
been appropriated by some adroit thief, who had 
entered the room during my absence and had 
" swept the platter clean." You can imagine my 
disgust and indignation, for, independent of the 
disappointment of the evening, the pecuniary loss 
was considerable, and my expected remittance had 
not been calculated upon the basis of such an ex- 
penditure as this robbery entailed. Nothing re- 
mained but to dispatch a hurried note explaining 
my absence to my friends, and to send for the police- 
and ask their aid in the apprehension of the thief. 

Mr. Smith, with characteristic kindness, called 
early the next day to offer his sympathy and assist- 
ance, but the authorities did nothing save shrug- 
their shoulders and take an inventory of the lost 
property — which surprised me greatly, as I had 
always heard that the police of Paris w^as the best 
in the w^orld. I never recovered anything, though 
I felt sure of my ability to place my hand upon 
the thief at any time, as he was a member of the 

This was the beginning of my know^led-e of the 
indifference — to use no stronger term — with which 
the French people regard all foreigners, and es- 
pecially those w^ho speak the English language. 

In connection with great crimes and political 
offenses the authorities frequently display much 
energy and sagacity, but they trouble themselves 
very little when aliens demand their assistance or 




My Dear Doctor : 

Shortly after the incident related in my last let- 
ter, an American, with whom I had been acquainted 
for several years, invited me to accompany him to 
Italy, proposing to defray the necessary expenses 
of the trip. As his health was poor and he really 
required professional attention, I accepted his offer, 
though I soon had occasion to regret having done 
so, as he was both ill-natured and parsimonious, and 
we soon parted company by mutual consent. 8ome 
months afterward, when he was arranging his af- 
fairs preliminary to a final departure, he addressed 
me a letter, claiming that I owed him more tlian 
a hundred dollars, the amount which he had ex- 
pended for my traveling expenses. This meanness 
was, nevertheless, surpassed by that of two Ameri- 
can women, mother and daughter, with whom I 
was thrown during my residence in Paris. As the 
health of the younger was poor I was constantly 
appealed to for j)rofessional advice, and as I refused 
compensation they invited me several times to dine 
with them. You can judge of my astonishment 
when I received a bill from, their boarding-house 
keej)er for the dinners which I had taken as their 
guest. On inquiry I found that he had charged 
these extra meals to them, but, at their suggestion, 
had withdrawn the items from their bill, and had 
held me responsible. Of course, I paid the sum 

180 A doctor's experiences 

demanded, but it is the conviction of a lifetime 
that for consummate meanness and unhlushino: 
impudence this travesty upon the laws of hospital- 
ity excelled anything that I have ever known or 
lieard of. 

I will not go into the details of this trip to Italy, 
although there was born of it a love scrape — which 
was characterized by many moving incidents and a 
strange conclusion — as the ground traveled over is 
familiar to nearly every one, and as I should have 
to "stir up the ashes of the past" in a way which 
would be agreeable neither to myself nor to my 
sweet-heart, although she is a grandmother. 

1 returned home on the steamer " North Star," 
the once famous Vanderbilt yacht, sailing from 
Havre early in May, and making the passage in 
about ten days. 

The voyage was tempestuous, but without inci- 
dent, and my fellow passengers generally im- 
pressed me so little that I have forgotten the names 
of all save two of them — Dr. Samuel Green, of 
Boston, and Miss Stevens, of Hoboken. 

Dr. Green had been studying medicine abroad, 
and having frequently met in our tours of the hos- 
pitals we soon became fast friends on ship-board. 
Related to the Lawrences, a thorough gentleman, 
and an accomplished physician, he immediately 
took a commanding position in his native State, 
and has maintained it up to the present moment. 
A few years since he was elected mayor of Boston, 
almost by acclamation, and he still holds an im- 
portant trust connected with its public charities. 
He has always enjoyed the reputation of being an 
unusually upright and loyal man. During the war 
he held a surgeon's commission in the United States 
Army, and was stationed in the eastern section of 
North Carolina, where, though we never met, we 


were frequently in close propinquity, and were 
constantly able to exchange messages of good will 
and kind remembrance. 

I take this occasion to say that the rancor en- 
gendered by the contest did not find its way into 
the hearts of the medical men engaged in it. They 
never permitted themselves to discriminate between 
the ^'gray" and the ''blue" when blood was flow- 
ing and human life was at stake, but to all alike — 
to friend and foe equally — they ministered to the 
extent of their ability, and with the same measure 
of sympathy and kindness. They never forgot 
that they were brethren, bound together by the 
ties and obligations of a noble profession ; and 
whenever they were brought in contact, whether 
under the friendly folds of a flag of truce or in the 
bloody carnage of a battle-field, or 'mid the sicken- 
ing horrors of the prison house, it was with bosoms 
as full of kindly feelings and hands as ready to ren- 
der a service as if no war-cloud enshrouded the 

It is a notable circumstance, also, that within 
three months after the flag of the Confederacy was 
folded at Appomattox, the i^merican Medical As- 
sociation met in the city of Baltimore, with dele- 
gates from every State in the Union, and held as 
harmonious and fraternal a session as had ever been 
known in its history. Thus it is that the physi- 
cians of the country have been enabled, by their 
inherent conservatism and their unfaltering devo- 
tion to the principles of their profession, to do their 
duty upon either side, uninfluenced by passion or by 
prejudice, and to become the pioneers in the work 
of a veritable reconstruction of the Union — the re- 
vivication of sentiments of reciprocal love and con- 
fidence between the alienated sections. 

Miss Stevens was accompanied by her father, who 

182 A doctor's experiences 

was then an old man, and she had on board a pet 
grey-hound which proved to be a very poor saikjr, 
and the source of great solicitude to its fair mistress. 
Some years afterward I met her at the Springs in 
Virginia, whither she had gone with her husband, 
Mr. Garnett, to passher ^' honej^-moon." Twenty 
years later I was sent for in Cairo to attend a '' lady 
at the Grand New Hotel," and, to my surprise, found 
my quondam friend of the North Star and the White 
Sulphur. Her first husband having died soon after 
their marriage she had given her hand and her 
fortune to a dilapidated rebel, Mr. H. P. C. Lewis, 
of Virginia, a relative of General Lee, and one of 
the most genial gentlemen whom I have ever 
met. How small a place the world is after all ! 
How strange are the rencontres of life ! It seems to 
me that if one could live long enough, he would 
meet again with every one that he had seen before, 
especially if he lived in Paris. 

There was great anxiety among the passengers 
to see the American papers, and to learn the result 
of the election, for Mr. Wise had just made his 
celebrated canvass against the Know-Nothing party, 
and it was impossible not to feel an interest in its 

His election to the office of Governor of his native 
State proved the death-blow of the so-called Ameri- 
can party, and produced a profound sensation 
throughout the country. That party originated in 
the natural apprehension of the foreign element as a 
controlling power in our elections, and the possible 
destruction of republican institutions through its 
instrumentality ; and for some time it swept every- 
thing before it, and threatened the annihilation of 
all other political organizations. But though it 
had in view a legitimate object — the retention of 
political power in thehands of native-born citizens — • 


its antagonism to religious freedom and its appeal 
to secret combinations as a means of success event- 
ually wrought its destruction. Wise was a man of 
vehement passions, of great energy of character, of 
chivalrous courage, and of wonderful eloquence, 
and inspired by the desperate condition of his 
own party, the assault upon that liberty of con- 
science which the Constitution guaranteed, and the 
resort to oath-bound societies as a means of domi- 
nation, he inaugurated a crusade against Know- 
iiothingism which, for the virulence displayed on 
the one side and the rancor engendered on the 
other, has never had its equal in political warfare. 
His success made him the hero of the hour, and 
he has ever since been canonized by the Democratic 
party as a saint and savior. Strange to relate, 
though devoted to the South, and ready, as the 
sequel proved, to shed his blood and to sacrifice 
his children in its behalf, he was not an '^ original 
secessionist." He advocated.war on the part of his 
section, but his idea was that, instead of attempt- 
ing to establish an independent government, it 
should march to Washington, raise ^' the stars and 
stripes" upon the National Capitol, and say to the 
people of the country : '' We will submit to insult 
and aggression no longer, but we are resolved to 
maintain our rights in the Union and under the a^gis 
of the Constitution. We desire nothing that is not 
just and right and legal ; and we call upon every 
patriot and honest-minded man, whatever his place 
of birth or his party affiliation, to come to our aid 
and to help us restore and perpetuate the govern- 
ment of our fathers," or language to the same effect. 
To my mind, there was embodied in this proposition 
more of true statesmanship, of real sagacity and of 
knowledge of the American people than was dis- 
played by all of our public men combined, for had 

184 A doctor's experiences 

it been carried out, the great rallying cry of '^ pro- 
tection to the old flag," by which the heart of the 
great North was fired and its people united in. 
solid phalanx against us, would never have been 
heard ; and although there might have been a war. 
and a bloody one, it would soon have terminated, 
without leaving the entire South in tears and ashes. 

As I passed through Norfolk and Portsmouth en 
route to Carolina I was struck by their appearance of 
prosperity and by the beauty of their situation and 
surroundings, little dreaming how soon they were 
to become the scene of a great disaster and a general 

Shortly afterward they were visited by a fearful 
epidemic of yellow fever. Both places soon be- 
came scenes of death and desolation — more than two 
thousand persons succumbed to the malady ; their 
people, utterly panic-stricken, fled in every possi- 
ble direction ; all business was suspended, and only 
a voice of wailing was heard in the deserted streets ; 
and yet not a physician proved recreant or showed 
a craven spirit, but, on the contrary, each deter- 
mined deliberatelj^ to die rather than to leave his 
post, to do his duty without hesitancy and mur- 
muring, and to let the result take care of itself. It 
was in response to the suggestions of such a spirit 
as this that a ''committee of relief " was organ- 
ized, having for its objects the nursing of the sick, 
the burial of the dead, the care of the homeless 
orphans^ the collection of funds and provisions for 
the destitute, and the supply of additional physi- 
cians to take the place of those who fell victims ta 
the disease. 

Upon the list of those who responded to this ap- 
peal for assistance I am proud to find your hon- 
ored name ; and, in my judgment, in exposing 
yourself to the terrors of this virulent pestilence^ 



in raising aloft the banner of the profession and 
carrying it into the very jaws of death, you deserve 
a meed of praise compared with which the Victoria 
Cross and ribbon of the Legion of Honor should 
count as empty baubles. When a soldier takes his 
life in his hands and charges with the forlorn hope 
into the deadly breach, enthused by the gaudia 
certaminis and all the inspiring entourage of the 
battle-field, he is crowned with laurels, surfeited 
with praise, and chronicled as a hero and a mar- 
tyr. But how much more deserving of honor and 
remembrance is the physician who, having nothing 
to inspire or to sustain him but a sense of duty 
and the approval of his conscience — without the 
expectation of reward, and with the prospect of an 
inevitable death — deliberately surrenders his prac- 
tice, bids adieu to his friends^, and takes his place 
in the already decimated ranks of those who are 
fighting some death-dealing epidemic? And yet 
the world worships the soldier and forgets the doc- 
tor, or rather, it regards the heroism of the one 
as sublime, and it takes that of the other as a mat- 
ter of course. How many people in Baltimore can 
you name who remember this unselfish and courage- 
ous sacrifice of yourself to the cause of science and 
humanity ? I have often heard you spoken of as 
a man of talent, integrity, kindness of heart, and 
geniality of disposition, but I scarcely ever heard a 
reference made to that for which you deserve a 
monument — your voluntary services to the sick and 
dying citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth. Such 
is the world, my friend, and if there were not a 
faithful record kept elsewhere of every noble im- 
pulse and heroic deed, life would be as valueless as 
a discarded oyster-shell, and as uninteresting as a 
picnic on the banks of the Lena. 

Quite a number of refugees came to Edenton, 

186 A doctor's experiexces 

aiid, though they brought disease and consterna- 
tion with them, they received a cordial welcome ; 
for Southern hospitality in those days was some- 
thing to be proud of and depended upon. In this 
instance virtue had its reward, for the disease con- 
fined itself to those who had already been exposed 
to the epidemic influence. 

It was thus that I became acquainted with yellow 
fever, and had an opportunity of studying its clini- 
cal history, with the results of arriving at the fol- 
lowing conclusions respecting it : 

1. That the disease is of foreign origin and was 

2. That it spread from the point at which it was 
landed until a definite area was invaded, including 
the sites of Norfolk and Portsmouth. 

3. That it developed and disseminated itself be- 
cause it found at the point of debarkation, and within 
the limits mentioned, certain conditions — atmos- 
pheric or systemic — favorable to the fructification 
of the germs which give it vitality — the germs 
themselves being of animal origin. 

4. That, in addition to these conditions, it found 
itself surrounded and modified by the presence of 
other germs of vegetable origin — those to which we 
give the name of malaria. 

5. That the disease when developed presented a 
composite character, being made up of two classes 
of phenomena — those due to the action of germs of 
animal origin, and those due to the influence of 
vegetable genesis. 

6. That the specific, or animal germs, are inca- 
pable of reproduction without the co-operation of 
the special conditions already mentioned. 

7. That the vegetable germs, or, in other words, 
malaria, has no agency per se in the development 
of the disease, but supplies the conditions for its 


production, and modifies it after it has been pro- 

8. That while the rational treatment of the dis- 
ease consists in sustaining the strength of the pa- 
tient, and stimulating the secerning organs to a 
more active performance of their functions, it is 
also a matter of vital importance to neutralize or 
to destroy the malarial elements and to counteract 
their efi'ects upon the economy. 

A number of physicians fell victims to the 
epidemic, and among them were some of my col- 
lege mates, notably Richard Sylvester and Junius 
Briggs — two as splendid fellows as ever wrote M. 
D. to their names. 

They had just graduated, and had the most bril- 
liant prospects before them, but when the visita- 
tion came they remained faithfully at their posts 
like good men and true physicians, and they died 
there among the first victims of the epidemic. 

Little did I think when I parted with them at 
the University, with health glowing in their ruddy 
cheeks and hope mirrored in their beaming eyes, 
that cheerless graves awaited them at home, and 
their names were so soon to be written upon the 
records which medicine reserves for its heroes and 
its martyrs. And yet their last hours weie cheered 
by the reflection that they had made a good fight 
in the cause of science and humanity, and that 
though their careers were comparatively short not 
a shadow of a stain had marred them. 

As I look back and recall all that has passed 
since then, especiall}^ the incidents connected with 
those dark days when the hopes of their people 
were crushed, and the land that they loved so well 
was rifled and ruined, it is a question with me as 
to who were the more fortunate, those who were 
early called, or those who were left behind to drain 

188 ^ A doctor's experiexces 

the cup of sorrow and humiliation to the dregs? If 
they did not live to taste the pleasures and to reap 
the honors of life, they were at least saved its vexa- 
tions and its vicissitudes, while, if faith has its 
fruition and virtue its reward in the hetter land 
beyond the tomb, they have not lost by the fate 
which overtook them in the pride and promise of 
their early manhood. 

I found that my father's principal rival was a 
certain Dr. P., who had been attracted to Edenton 
by Dr. Wright's departure for Norfolk and my ab- 
sence in Europe. He was a physician of little abil- 
ity, but a man of great cunning. He knew, in 
fact, all the tricks and dodges by which to secure 
notoriety and to counterfeit success, and he most 
industriously resorted to them. He rented the 
most conspicuous pew in church, arrived always 
at a late hour, and had himself called out before 
the conclusion of the sermon. He purchased — on 
credit — a splendid " turnout," and had it conspic- 
uously brought to his door several times daily^ 
driving off as if summoned in hot haste to scores 
of impatient or dying patients. He pretended to 
a familiar correspondence with the leading medi- 
cal men of the country, and habitually entertained 
the audience of the streets corners with fictitious 
letters, filled with fulsome compliments to him- 
self. He magnified the simplest cases into the 
gravest maladies, and claimed great credit for his 
accurate diagnoses and his skillful cures. He af- 
fected great interest in " scientific farming " — in 
the application of ''chemical principles to the cul- 
tivation of the soil," as he expressed it — and or- 
ganized an Agricultural Society, before which he 
delivered weekly lectures, interlarded with such 
technical terms as his memory could retain^ and 
replete with accounts of capital surgical opera- 


tions, happy hits in the treatment of disease, won- 
derful discoveries of remedies and professional tri- 
umphs generally — all culled from the field of his 
imagination and planned to secure an ahundant 
harvest of ''the needful." He dressed in a style 
as unique as it was conspicuous, and such broad- 
brimmed felts, long-tailed coats, expansive shirt 
collars^ gaudy neckties, glistening patent-leathers^ 
and ponderous watch-chains never '^'cut a swell" 
before or since, even in '' the land of Dixie." He 
rushed madly into print on every possible occasion, 
and our modest " weekly " fairly groaned under 
the weight of his voluminous contributions on 
medical topics, each copied verbatim from the text 
books. And he grew so desperately intimate on 
the shortest acquaintance, calling everybody by an 
abbreviation of his Christian name, giving such 
friendly slaps upon the shoulder by way of saluta; 
tion,and proposing so constantly to "stand treat," 
that a stranger would have supposed he had been 
raised in every family in the county and was the 
blood relation of the whole community. 

Seeing all this and knowing something of the 
credulity of human nature, I began to regard him 
as possibly a dangerous rival, and so remarked to 
my father. The old gentleman, with a more pro- 
found knowledge of mankind in general and of the 
people around him in particular, only smiled when 
I expressed my fears in this regard, and said in 
reply to my expression of apprehension : " He is not 
worthy of a thought. Give him rope enough and he 
will hang himself. It is true that there is nothing 
«o successful as success, but it must be a genuine 
success ; and a shallow-pated and vulgar pretender 
like P. is as sure to go to the wall as that the sun 
shines. A small community is too inquisitive to 
be deceived by any pretense of business, and the 

190 A doctor's experiences 

sheriff will sell him out before the end of the year^ 
or I am no judge of the situation." And so it 
turned out. He who had gone up a rocket soon 
came down a stich^ and there was a public " ven- 
due" of his goods and chattels in a shorter time 
even than my father had predicted. He seemed ta 
take his discomfiture as if he were accustomed to 
it, and started off to seek new fields of adventure, 
arrayed in his marvelous get-u^^, and as jovial of 
manner as if nothing had happened. Indeed, I 
could not help admiring the perfect sang froicl 
which he manifested in the hour of his defeat, and 
I came to regard him in the light of a philosopher 
as well as a fraud, if two such antipodal characters 
can associate themselves in the same individual. 
To give you a better idea of this man I will tell 
you of a trick by whicb he victimized a friend on 
the eve of his departure from Edenton. He had 
been intimate with a young woman who was not 
altogether a pattern of propriety, and a day or twa 
before he wa-s to leave he received a letter from her 
appealing to his paternal sentiments for assistance 
and protection. Observing that the envelope 
alone bore his address, and suspecting that a 
young man of the town might be as culpable as 
himself, he very quietly put the letter in another 
envelope, and directing it in a disguised hand to 
his friend, slipped off to parts unknown. 

The bait took ; the girl accepted the unexpected 
succor without explanation ; and twelve years after- 
ward, to my certain knowledge, the aforesaid young 
man was supporting P.'s gage d' amour, without a 
suspicion of mistaken paternity or of the little 
game by w^hich he had been so artfully victimized. 

T have already mentioned the name of Dr. 
Wright, and I have, indeed, a sad history to re- 
late respecting him. He belonged to one of our 


best families, and he was pre-eminently a good 
man and a thorough gentleman. Having studied 
medicine with my father, practiced in association 
with him, and lived as his friend and neighbor for 
many years, the relations between them and their 
families were of the most intimate character. In 
1854 he removed to Norfolk, Virginia, v^here the 
loyalty of his character, the amiability of his na- 
ture, his thorough knowledge of medicine, and his 
courage and devotion in the fever epidemic secured 
him many warm friends and liberal patrons. He 
had a lovely wife and a large family of sons and 
daughters, who were singularly devoted to their 
parents and to each other — constituting one of the 
happiest home circles I ever knew. When forced by 
impending hostilities to remove my wife and child 
from Baltimore, I carried them as far as Norfolk on 
their homew^ard journey, and stopped, for several 
days at the Doctor's house. At that time, though 
devoted to the South, he deprecated the war, expressed 
his love for the Union, and still hoped that the wis- 
dom and patriotism of the nation would assert 
themselves before an issue was irretrievably made 
between its sections. In a word, he spoke as a pa- 
triot and not as a politician, giving expression to 
the most liberal and fraternal sentiments, and 
showing that his position was altogether a conser- 
vative one. Little did I dream that the delightful 
circle which I found beneath his hospitable roof — 
a circle bound together by the cohesive power of 
reciprocal admiration and affection — was so soon 
to be broken up by the saddest circumstances that 
the human mind can conceive of — the execution of 
its cherished head upon the gallow^s, and the death 
of the eldest son upon the field of battle. 

Soon after the evacuation of Norfolk by the Con- 
federate forces its citizens were astonished and hor- 

192 'a doctor's experiexces 

rifiecl by the organization of a militai\y company of 
negroes, commanded by an officer of the United 
States Army. The poor Doctorj in the excitement 
of the moment as it passed him for the first 
time, exclaimed, '^ How dastardly ! " and the cap- 
tain having heard the remark^ turned upon him 
with his drawn SAvord. At this critical moment 
some friend thrust a pistol in his hand, with which 
he killed his assailant. A trial by court-martial 
was immediately held ; no extenuating circum- 
stances were admitted ; and the simple fact that 
an officer of the army had been slain by a rebel 
sympathizer outweighed all other considerations ; 
and tliis good man who had never entertained an 
unkind thought toward a human being, and who 
had only fired as a last resort when his life was in 
jeopardy, was condemned to die the death of a 
felon, and was actually hung despite the entreaties of 
his wife and children, the appeals of his friends and 
the protests of the Confederate authorities. On 
the day preceding his execution his eldest daugh- 
ter obtained permission to visit his cell^ and made 
a desperate effort to rescue him. Enveloping him 
in her cloak and placing lier bonnet upon his head, 
with its vail drooped over his face, she sent him 
out of the prison by the route which she had en- 
tered it, while she covered herself up in his vacant 
bed, and awaited the result of her brave experi- 
ment. It came near succeeding. It was the sen- 
tinel at the last gate Avho recognized the boots of a 
man as the disguised figure passed through it and 
who arrested the fugitive just as he was on the point 
of joining the friends vv^lio waited without to convey 
him to a place of safety ; and the distracted daugh- 
ter had only the mortification of seeing him brought 
back in chains, and of hearing herself insulted as a 
criminal for her sublime act of self-sacrifice and 


filial duty. On tlie succeeding day the gallows 
did its cruel work, and he who deserved a hero's 
recompense for a life consecrated to truth, honor, 
justice and humanity, was foully murdered in the 
name of the law, because, with a sword's point at 
his heart, he had instinctively obeyed the voice of 
manhood and of nature and had raised his hand in 
defense of his life. There are many extreme things 
which can be attributed to the passions excited by 
a sanguinary war and pardoned accordingly ;. but for 
this act of barbarity, this violation of every princi- 
ple of justice, there can be found neither the 
shadow of an excuse nor the semblance of a palli- 
ation. It looms up, in fact, from the darkest page 
in the history of the struggle as the most conspicu- 
ous and the least pardonable of all the atrocities 
committed on either side, and constitutes an eter- 
nal reproach to humanity and to the civilization of 
the century. 

I have reason to believe that his final appeal to 
the Executive of the nation failed to reach its des- 
tination, and that upon the conscience of some un- 
scrupulous subordinate rests the responsibility of 
the consummation of this infamy. The man in 
whose heart was conceived the heaven-inspired 
sentiment embodied in the words: "with charity 
for all and malice toward none," could no more 
have consented to the cruel murder of this innocent 
man — innocent because the act for which he suf- 
fered was done without premeditation and in self- 
defense — than he could have brought himself to 
play the role of executioner on that memorable 
morning when from the gallows at Norfolk an un- 
sullied soul ascended to heaven, and the hang- 
man's rope was made an instrument for the mar- 
tyrdom of a gentleman, a Christian and a hero. 

194 'a doctor's experiences 

His eldest son, who had just attained his majority 
and was the inheritor of all the virtues which 
adorned his father's character, went into the fight 
at Getty shurg, and is still among ^'the missing." 
His body was never found, and nothing is known 
respecting his fate save that he was seen to fall in 
the fatal charge upon the heights. 

I subsequently saw the wife and mother, upon 
whom these terrible calamities had fallen, at Chapel 
Hill — for she had been permitted to come into our 
lines to seek the kindly offices of the friends of her 
better days — and the sad picture which she pre- 
sented is graven eternally upon my memory. I 
found her sitting as upright as a statue, speechless^ 
tearless and immovable, the embodiment of the 
profoundest sorrow and the uttermost despondency. 
She seemed completely dazed, blighted and be- 
numbed — like one whose soul had been translated 
and whose body left behind with just corporeal 
sense enough to perpetuate existence and to main- 
tain identity. I had seen her when as a happy 
bride she walked down the aisle of old St. Paul's, 
leaning upon the arm of her loving husband, fol- 
lowed by troops of admiring friends, and dreaming 
of a future canopied by naught but sunbeams ; I 
had seen her again the proud mother of sons and 
daughters of beauty, the mistress of a household 
within which love and happiness reigned supreme, 
and the object of the respect and the admiration of 
a whole community ; and when I beheld her as she 
appeared at Chapel Hill, the personification of suf- 
fering and the illustration of despair, the contrast 
struck so deeply into my soul that, forgetting my 
manhood, I burst into tears and wept like some 
broken-hearted child upon her shoulder. What a 
blessed thing are tears, and what a dreadful ca- 


lamity it was to this poor woman that she could 
not shed them ! Her children married well, and 
are happy, for time brings its consolation to the 
young even if it opens wider and extends deeper 
the wounds which maturer hearts have received. 

196 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

Immediately on my return to Edenton my father 
made me a copartner in his business, and I went 
regularly to work. This did not mean child's play, 
as his practice extended over several counties, and it 
required six horses to do that portion of it which 
could be reached on land. He had also a number of 
patients who were only accessible by water, and 
many a thrilting adventure did I have while cross- 
ing the sounds and rivers in the '^dug-outs" 
deculiar to that section. 

Mr. Josiah Collins, who lived on Lake Scupper- 
nong, in Washington County, regularly employed 
us, and to reach his house the sound had to be 
crossed and a journey of thirty-five miles made by 
land. This gentleman and his place require more 
than a passing notice, as he was an extraordinary 
man, and it was one of the most beautiful estates 
in the South. 

His grandfather came from England at an early 
period in the history of the Colonies and settled at 
Edenton, where by his intelligence, energy and 
character he acquired a princely fortune and left 
an honored name. The son who succeeded him 
was a fit representative of his father, and having 
married a lady belonging to one of the best families 
of New Berne, he raised a large family of children, 
each one of whom possessed remarkable gifts of mind 


and person. The ladies of the family were especi- 
ally distinguished for their beauty, their intelli- 
gence and their accomplishments, while their house 
was the center of society for that section of the 
State — and a more delightful and hospitable one 
can not be conceived of. As they regularly visited 
the principal cities and watering-places, and had 
in addition to their charm of person and character 
large fortunes in their own right, they were the 
greatest belles in that part of the country. They 
had, in fact, many offers of marriage, and it was a 
rare thing for the town not to have as a visitor some 
stranger of distinction who was seeking to ally 
himself with that family. The fortunate suitors 
were the Hon. William B. Shepard, Dr. Matthew 
Page, Dr. Thomas A. Harrison and Dr. Thomas 
D. Warren, the latter being a near relative of my 

The sons were also splendid types of humanity, 
possessing fine physiques and good minds improved 
by excellent educations. 

Hugh W. Collins, the second son, stood six feet 
and two inches in his stockings, and though of hercu- 
lean proportions his figure was symmetrical and his 
carriage remarkably graceful. He had besides an 
exceedingly handsome and attractive face, with 
regular features, .soft blue eyes, and a smile of 
peculiar fascination, while his head was of faultless 
development, covered with a profusion of sunny 
curls, and sat on his shoulders like that of an 
Apollo. Though he was as lavish with his means 
as a prince, as gentle in nature as a girl, and as 
gay of spirits as a bird, he was brave to rashness, 
and as chivalrous as any Plumed Knight. He ex- 
celled in everything. He was the strongest man, 
the best horseman, the deadliest shot, the finest 
boxer, the fleetest skater, the greatest beau, and the 

198 A doctor's experiences 

most eloquent speaker in his section. His memory, 
also, was something phenomenal, retaining every- 
thing with absolute fidelity, and rendering him a 
perfect encyclopedia. Nature, in truth, had been 
lavish with him, and having in his early days ap- 
preciated her bounty, he grew up a second Crich- 
ton : 

" A combination and a form indeed, 
AVhere every god did seem to set his seal, 
To give the world assurance of a man." 

And yet with all this promise and these splendid 
gifts he never rose to be more than a member of 
the legislature, and he died at a comparatively 
early age, with but a modicum of fame and an estate 
in ruins. His manhood was consecrated to great 
intentions — to dreams which loere to he realized ; 
his generosity was abused by friends who lived 
upon his bounty and made returns only in promises ; 
his geniality but served to cripple his talents and 
to destroy his health, and his career, which ought 
to have been as refulgent as the march of the sun, 
was simply dazzling like the flight of a meteor. 

He died in 1854 in the old mansion at Edenton, 
of dropsy resulting from cirrhosis of the liver; and 
as I saw his magnificent frame and his splendid 
intellect succumb to the King of Terrors, I could 
but reflect upon the insignificance of humanity and 
learn a lesson of humility which I have never for- 

Josiah Collins, the eldest son, though totally 
different from his brother, possessed many remark- 
able traits of character. He was a man of high 
principles, brilliant intellect, great kindness of 
heart, and extraordinary capacity for business, but 
the predominating trait in his character was pride. 
The senior member of the family, and having im- 


bibecl his father's English ideas and convictions, 
he regarded himself as the representative of every 
excellence which appertained to it. He esteemed 
his blood the bluest, his opinions the wisest, his 
tastes the truest, and everything identified with 
Jdm the most perfect that the world contained. 
He was an autocrat with a will as imperious and a 
sway as absolute as the Czar himself; but, though 
impatient and arbitrary when antagonized, he was 
the soul of courtesy, amiability and kindness when 
unopposed. Indeed, sUch a fascination of manner, 
€ourtliness of bearing, fluency in conversation, fa- 
cility of adaptation to circumstances and geniality 
of disposition as he could display I have never seen 
united in the same individual. 

Somerset Place, as he designated his homo, was 
a most elegant and charming establishment. The 
house was of modern construction and arranged 
with special reference to the comfort of its inmates. 
It was filled with costly furniture, interesting 
books, beautiful plate and treasures of art; sur- 
rounded by stately oaks and cypresses, and with a 
beautiful lawn on the one side and a spacious gar- 
den on the other. It was built immediately upon 
the shore of Lake Scuppernong, a beautiful sheet 
of water more than twenty-five miles in circumfer- 
ence and connected with the river of the same name 
by a canal of Mr. Collins' own construction. The 
farm, embracing several thousand acres of arable 
land, which had gradually been reclaimed and 
brought into cultivation, was as rich as the Delta 
and yielded annually a princely income. There 
were about three hundred negroes on the place, 
who were in. a state of perfect discipline, while the 
greatest attention was paid to their comfort, health 
and general welfare, including their spiritual con- 
dition, for their owner was a staunch churchman, 

200 A doctor's experiexces 

and maintained a chapel and chaplain at his owd 
expense. Indeed^ it was a constant source of in- 
terest to see the negroes flocking to church on 
Sundays, participating in the services — for they 
knew every word of the "prayer-book" — and par- 
taking of the holy communion at the same table 
with their master and the members of his family. 
In my early days there were still living several 
old men who were known as ''Guinea negroes," 
being the remnants of the cargoes of African slaves 
which certain enterprising ■ New England traders- 
had brought into those waters and sold at hand- 
some prices to the neighboring planters. These 
antiquated darkeys spoke a sort of gibberish, which 
was a medley of their original dialect and the 
English language, and to me was perfectly unin- 
telligible. They retained all of their original 
fetich superstitions and were as uncivilized, 
even in their old age, as when they roamed in 
youthful freedom among the jungles of the dark 
continent. The negroes, generally, on this estate 
were of a peculiar type — a people sui generis. 
Having descended from ancestors who were orig- 
inally kidnapped in Africa, and never having been 
brought into relations with other representatives 
of their race, they had retained many of the ideas 
and traditions of their native land. Though ram- 
pant Christians, with "the service" upon the tips 
of their tongues, they still had faith in evil genii, 
charms, philters, metempsychosis^ etc., and they 
habitually indulged in an infinitude of cabal- 
istic rites and ceremonies, in which the gizzards of 
chickens, the livers of dogs, the heads of snakes 
and the tails of lizards played a mysterious but 
very conspicuous part. 

One of their customs was playing at what they 
called "John Koonering," though this was more 


of a fa7itasia than a religious demonstration ; that 
it had, however, some connection with their relig- 
ion is evident from the fact that they only in- 
dulged in it on Christian festivals, notahly on 
Christmas day. The leading character is the 
*' ragman/' whose " get-up " consists in a costume 
of rags, so arranged that one end of each hangs 
loose and dangles; two great ox horns, attached to 
the skin of a raccoon, which is drawn over the 
head and face, leaving apertures only for the eyes 
and mouth ; sandals of the skin of some wild 
'' varmint;" several cow or sheep bells or strings 
of dried goats' horns hanging about their shoul- 
ders, and so arranged as to jingle at every move- 
ment; and a short stick of seasoned w^ood, carried 
in his hands. 

The second part is taken by the best looking 
darkey of the place, who wears no disguise^ but is 
simply arrayed in what they call his '^Sunday-go-to- 
meeting suit," and carries in his hand a small 
bowl or tin cup, while the other parts are appro- 
priated by some half a dozen fellows, each arrayed 
fantastically in ribbons, rags, and feathers, and 
bearing between them several so-called musical in- 
struments or '' gumba boxes," which consist of 
wooden frames covered over with tanned sheep- 
skins. These are usually followed by a motley 
crowd of all ages, dressed in their ordinary work- 
ing clothes, which seemingly comes as a guard of 
honor to the performers. 

Having thus given you an idea of the characters 
I will describe the performance as I first saw it at 
the ''Lake." Coming up to the front door of the 
" great house," the musicians commenced to beat 
their gumba-boxes violently, while characters No. 
1 and No. 2 entered upon a dance of the most ex- 
traordinary character — a combination of bodily 

202 A doctor's experiences 

contortions, flings, kicks, gyrations, and antics of 
every imaginable description, seemingly acting as 
partners, and yet each trying to excel the other in 
ithe variety and grotescjueness of his movements. 
At the same time No. 2 led off with a song of a 
^strange, monotonous cadence, which seemed ex- 
temporized for the occasion, and to run somewhat 
in this wise : 

" My massa am a white man, juba ! 
Old missus am a lady, juba I 
De children am de honey-pods, juba I juba ! 
Krismas come but once a year, juba I 
Juba! juba! O, ye juba ! 

" De darkeys lubs de hoe-cake, juba ! 
Take de ' quarter' for to buy it, juba ! 
Fetch him lono-, you white folks, juba ! juba I 
Krismas come Ijut once a year, juba I 
Juba ! juba ! O, ye juba !" 

wdiile the whole crowd joined in the chorus, 
shouting and clapping their hands in the wildest 
^\ee. After sino'inor a verse or two No. 2 moved 
up to the master, with his hat in one hand and a 
tin cup in the other, to receive the expected "quar- 
ter," and, while making the lowest obeisance, 
shouted: " May de good Lord bless old massa and 
missus, and all de young massas, juba!" The "rag 
man" during this part of the performance con- 
tinued his dancing, singing at the top of his voice 
the same refrain, and striking vigorously at the 
crowd, as first one and then another of its mem- 
bers attempted to tear off his " head gear" and to 
reveal his identity. And then the expected "quar- 
ter" having been jingled for some time in the tin cup, 
the performers moved on to visit in turn the young 
gentlemen's colony, the tutor's rooms, the par- 
son's study, the overseer's house, and^ finally, the 
quarters^ to wind up with a grand jollification, in 


which all took part until they broke down and 
gave it up from sheer exhaustion. Except at the 
'' Lake" and in Edenton, where it originated with 
the Collins' negroes, I never witnessed this per- 
formance in America, and I was convinced from 
the first that it was of foreign origin, based on 
:some festive ceremony which the negroes had in- 
herited from their African ancestors. 

This opinion was fully confirmed during my 
residence in Egpyt, for I found that the blacks in 
that country amuse themselves at By ram — the 
principal feast of the Koran — with a performance 
absolutely identical with that which I had seen in 
Carolina, save in the words of their ^' Kooner" 

I also met there the exact counterpart of the old 
^' Guinea negroes" of the Lake, and I was glad to 
see them again, as they served to revive the inci- 
dents and associations of younger and happier days. 

Mr. Collins was pre-eminently a social man, and 
it was the delight of his heart to have his house 
filled with guests, and to devote himself to their 
entertainment. I scarcely ever visited the "Lake" 
without finding a large company assembled there, 
having as good a time as it is possible to conceive 
of. Such a host of servants, horses, carriages, 
games, boats, guns, accouterments, musical instru- 
ments, and appliances generally for interesting and 
entertaining people, I never saw collected together. 
His table also was a most sumptuous one. It 
groaned in fact beneath the load of every delicacy 
that taste could suggest, and such triumphs of the 
culinary art as were only possible to the well- 
trained darkey cooks with which his kitchen was 
crowded, while wines of the most ancient vintage 
and liquors of the choicest brand flowed around it 
like water from some exhaustless spring. His 


bearing under his own roof stamped him at once as 
a gentleman, for his greeting had in it a tone of 
sincerity that was simply delightful, while his hos- 
pitality possessed a spontaniety and a comprehen- 
siveness which instinctively captivated every heart. 

I regret to tell you that the war which he had 
advocated with such vehemence and deemed so- 
necessary for the vindication of Southern honor 
and the maintenance of Southern institutions- 
proved utterly disastrous to him. It drove him 
from his beautiful home ; it ruined his magnifi- 
cent estate ; it scattered his well- trained servants ; 
it sent his beloved sons to the battle-field, and it 
consigned him prematurely to the grave, a broken- 
hearted and an impoverished man. He had his 
faults, for he was of a proud nature, and a domi- 
neering spirit, oversatisfied with himself and im- 
patient in the face of opposition ; but his virtues 
far outweighed his failings, and a braver, nobler 
and more magnificent type of humanity has seldorn 
walked among men in any land or time. This may 
seem a fulsome eulogium to those who had no per- 
sonal acquaintance with this extraordinary man. 
but it will be recognized as a true portrait and an. 
honest statement by his friends aod contemporaries. 

My father was the intimate friend and the trusted 
physician of this family for nearly fifty years, and 
he has often told me that they were the best people 
he ever knew. They w^ere certainly the most gen- 
erous patrons that a medical man wa's ever blessed 
with, for their first thought when sickness occurred 
was to send for their doctor, and they were ever 
ready to remunerate him wath an open hand_, 
whether the service was rendered to themselves or 
to the humblest of their slaves. 

In the year 1856 I determined to compete for the 
''Fisk Fund Prize/' which was offered by the 


Medical Society of Rhode Island for the best essay 
on the subject of '^ The effect of pregnancy on the 
development and march of the tuberculosis." 
Having devoted myself to intense study of the sub- 
ject for two months, I sat down to the preparation 
of my thesis and completed it in three weeks, mak- 
ing, as I thought, a strong argument in favor of 
the proposition : that the disease is, as a rule, re- 
tarded during gestation^ and supporting it by many 
reliable authorities, especially of the French school. 
I was careful to have it mailed in the city of Balti- 
more, fearing, as I had no personal knowledge of 
the members of the commission by which it was to 
be judged, that the post-mark of so insignificant 
a village as Edenton might prejudice my chances 
■of success. After waiting at least three months in 
a fever of suspense for the decision, and when al- 
most in despair of a favorable result, I was grati- 
fied by the arrival of a letter bearing the Provi- 
dence post-mark, and containing a notification that 
the prize had been awarded to me, with a check 
for the amount to which that result entitled the 
successful competitor. The pleasure which this 
award afforded my father, and the pride with 
which he announced it to his friends, recompensed 
me a thousand fold more than the money received, 
which, by the way, I invesed in the silver pitcher 
and salver out of which we so often drank " claret- 
cup " together in other days, and which mf chil- 
dren still class among their treasures. This suc- 
cess helped me in every way. It stimulated my 
energies ; it inspired me with confidence in myself, 
and it gave me a good start as a medical man in 
North Carolina. 

The thesis was published in book form by the 
society, and was for a long time popular with the 

206 A doctor's EXPEIUEXCES 

I also delivered the address before the State. Med- 
ical Society that year, taking the ''Yellow Fever 
Epidemic of Norfolk" as my theme, and dwelling 
on the self-sacrificing spirit displayed in that re- 
gard by the profession — little knowing that I should 
subsecjuently become so warmly attached to one of 
the heroes of that memorable visitation. This ad- 
dress was w^ell received and was published by the 
society, though I have not seen a copy of it in 
twenty years at least. Some day I want you to 
get a copy and read it carefully, so that you 
may understand how well I thought of you before 
I had the pleasure of your personal acquaintance. 




My Dear Doctor : 

The wealthiest man in Chowan County at the 
time was James C. Johnstone, Esq., who lived at a 
beautiful place in immediate proximity to Edenton, 
called Hayes. He was the son of Samuel John- 
stone, who was born at Dundee, Scotland, in 1733. 
and died in Chowan County in 1816, after a most 
honorable career. As an evidence of his worth, I beg 
to refer you to the distinguished positions to which 
he was elevated during his long and honorable ca- 
reer. He was one of the clerks of the Superior 
Courts before the Revolution ; speaker of the Pro- 
visional Congress of his State ; member of the Con- 
tinental Congress ; Governor of North Carolina ; 
president of the convention to consider the Con- 
stitution ; Senator in the Congress of the United 
States, and Judge of the Superior Court of North 
Carolina. Wheeler says that ''he was mentally 
and physically every inch a man. His intellect 
was of the highest order, cultivated by learning and 
experience. His person was imposing, of a large 
and powerful frame, erect and stately in his car- 
riage and of iron will. He joined the graces of a 
scholar with the wisdom of the statesman." He 
belonged to the junior or cadet branch of the family 
of Annandale in the Peerage of Scotland, and he 
was undoubtedly the rightful heir to the title and es- 
tates which appertain to that house. His father 
brouo;ht with him the materials for the construe- 

208 A doctor's experiences 

tion of the bouse at Hayes, with his family plate, 
pictures and heirlooms, and having erected a mag- 
nificent mansion, surrounded it with choice shrub- 
bery, elaborate gardens, a spacious park, and all 
the attractions that taste could suggest, left it 
as a legacy to his children. 

His son, James Cathcartj inherited his talents, 
tastes, and character, but not his ambition nor his 
love for public life. On the contrary^ he was 
singularly retiring in his disposition, and for the 
greater portion of his life he devoted himself to the 
management of his estates, to the gratification of 
his taste for reading, and to the enjoyment of the so- 
ciety of a i'ew chosen friends. Having been disap- 
pointed in an early love affair, he never married, 
and lived almost the life of a recluse, dividing his 
time between his farms in Chowan, Pasquotank, 
and Halifax. He was originally a man of aristo- 
cratic appearance, of dignified bearing, and of 
great rectitude of character. Being much grieved 
b}^ the death of his two maiden sisters and depressed 
by ill-health, he manifested in his later years symp- 
toms of insanity ; and my father and I, who were 
his regular medical attendants, seriously thought 
at various times of placing him in an asylum. 
As these attacks were not as a general rule of a 
violent character — the exceptions being two at- 
tempts at self-destruction and one at murder — and 
were followed by long intervals of lucidity, we 
failed to proceed to extremities and left him to the 
care of his relations and attendants under his own 
roof. Many an anxious hour have I spent in his 
chamber, listening to his ravings respecting the 
^'unpardonable sin" which he had committed, the 
^'evil spirits" by which he was pursued, the '"poor- 
house" in which he was to spend his latter days, 
and the thousand illusions which crowded his dis- 


ordered brain. And yet, after having spent weeks 
in a state of wild delirium and of constant insomnia, 
I have seen him suddenly return to reason, and 
resume his wonted dignity of manner, lucidity of 
intellect, ease of conversation, and placidity of coun- 
tenance, just as if nothingunusual had occurred. As 
the secret of his insanity was carefully guarded by 
those around him, and as he was seen by the pub- 
lic — including those who regarded themselves as 
his intimate friends — only when he was in his 
right mind, the community received with in- 
€redulity the story of his insanity when it eventu- 
ally became necessary to proclaim it. But of this 

The rector of old St. Paul's, at Edenton, the 
Bev. Samuel Iredell Johnstone, was the most es- 
teemed of his relations and the most cherished of 
his friends. That gentleman was the son of John 
Johnstone, the Surveyor-General of North Caro- 
lina in colonial days, and a member of the State 
Senate afterward. He graduated at Chapel Hill 
in the class of 1826, studied law, and subsequ^itly 
abandoned that profession to enter the ministry of 
the Episcopal church. In the pulpit he was noted 
for the force of his logic and the fervor of his elo- 
quence, while out of it he was distinguished for 
his zeal and consistency as a Christian, and for his 
loyalty, honesty and guilelessness as a man. 

He was in all respects a model pastor, illustrat- 
ing alike by precept and example the truth, beauty 
and excellence of the faith which he professed, de- 
vot^^ing himself with unfaltering fidelity to the wel- 
fare of his flock, and leading a life of perfect holi- 
ness and sanctity. 

He was emphatically the friend of the poor and 
the suffering, visiting them, ministering to them, 
and lavishing his sympathy and means upon them 

210 'A doctor's experiexces 

as if they were allied to him by the ties of blood. 
He was, in truth, the very impersonation of every 
virtue that gives beauty and dignity to the human 
character, and he was worshi}3ed as a saint — as 
something above and beyond common humanity — 
by all who knew him, and especially by the church 
which he so honored by the purity of his life and 
the brilliancy of his ministry. 

His death was regarded as a public calamity by 
those among whom he had lived and ministered, 
and though some of those upon whom he had lav- 
ished kindnesses turned upon him in the day of 
his adversity, not an eye refused its tears nor a 
heart its sympathy as his remains w^ere borne to. 
the old family graveyard at Hayes to be deposited 
amid the ashes of his honored ancestors. DesjDite 
the promptings of self-interest, every man in the 
community realized that day that he had lost a 
friend, a brother and a benefactor. 

He married Margaret, the second daughter of 
George Burgwyn, of "The Hermitage," in New 
Haiaover County, and the niece of Judge Nash, 
the Chief-Justice of North Carolina, by whom he 
had a large family of children. Of these, James, 
the eldest — and the rightful heir of the Earldom of 
Annandale — was adopted by Mr. James C. John- 
stone at an early age, and was educated as the 
^prospective heir^ of the principal 23ortion of his 
property. He married my second sister, Kate Har- 
ris, and resided for many years at Hayes, which 
Mr. James Johnstone abandoned to them, remov- 
ing to his seat in Pasquotank County. 

Mr. Samuel Johnstone's second daughter, Eliza- 
beth Cotton, was just budding into w^omanhood, 
and by common consent she was recognized as the 
beauty and the heJle of that section. Tall, slender, 
and graceful, with eyes as dark as the night, a 


profusion of curls with whicli the sheen of the morn- 
ing was blended, and a face softened and illumi- 
nated like that of a Madonna, she seemed to me- 
the perfection of loveliness. And when I found her 
heart the home of every kind and tender and gen- 
erous sentiment, and her mind as clear as the cur- 
rent of some mountain stream and as bright as the 
star of the evening, my admiration transformed itself 
into worship, and that became idolatry. I loved her 
with all the fervor of which my nature was capable — 
with the strongest, truest, deepest passion that my 
soul could formulate — and compared with which 
all that I had ever experienced was as a dew-drop 
to the ocean, as a child's whisper to the tornado's 
breath. But how to woo her was the question. I 
was many years her senior, and as compared with 
the young men who surrounded her, a veritable 
patriarch. My prospects therefore seemed desper- 
ate in the premises — sufficiently so certainly ta 
have discouraged a majority of men, but the very 
desperation of the situation served to inspire me 
with a deeper love and a stronger purpose. Intel- 
lect, will, energy, and every faculty which entered 
into my being seemed to develop, expand, and 
strengthen under the influence of the intense pas- 
sion which possessed me, and I entered the field 
resolved on victory, without regard to difficulties 
and in defiance of fate itself. I soon made it pa- 
tent to my mocking rivals that an earnest man un- 
der the spell of the grand passion and the domina- 
tion of an imperious will is an adversary such as 
none can afford to despise. I attacked the dear 
girl's heart with such desperate vigor as to 
convince her that she had, indeed, a serious lover 
to deal with, and to induce her to make an attempt 
to restrain my feelings and to save me from their 
consequences by the confession of her engagement 


to another. And yet, in the very considerateness 
of this avowal, and in the tearful eyes and the 
trernhling accents with which it was made, I dis- 
•cerned, or believed I did, a glimmer of regret — a 
flicker of sympathy — which was to my heart what 
Ihe blazing fire is to the wanderer amid the Arctic 
•snows, and the cooling spring to the traveler in the 
desert sands. 

Instead of restraining me^ it only developed a 
fresher courage and a more desperate energ3^ So far 
from "saving me from myself," it but bound m}^ soul 
with stronger fetters, and consigned it to a more 
hopeless servitude. Though thus forbidden to 
speak of love and to plead mj cause, my passion 
found utterance in my every tone and look and 
gesture, and spoke for itself in the consecration of 
my life to this single aim and aspiration. Finally 
my lady love's fiance, whose military duties had 
hitherto confined him to the plains, suddenly ap- 
23eared upon the scene, having come to settle upon 
the wedding day. He had naturally expected to 
have a good time in Edenton, never dreaming of 
finding a lion in his path, or that the field was 
aught else than his exclusive property. 

It so happened that I was out walking with her 
when she received the intelligence of his arrival, 
and I saw that she blanched, reeled, and came near 
fainting in my arms. Thus inspired by her pale 
cheeks and tearful eyes and trembling frame, I 
•opened the flood gates of my soul and told her of 
my great love, my supreme devotion, .my wild 
idolatry, and implored her as she valued her own 
happiness, and would save me from utter misery, 
to break her engagement with him and to become 
my wife. Her only answer, as we walked along, 
was a flood of tears, and a succession of tremors, 
which shook her frame as the whirlwind shakes the 


aspen ; but when I left her at her father's door 
she said in accents which to my ears were sweeter 
than the songs of the angels : " Visit me as usual/' 
I took her at her word, and not only visited her 
'^ as usual," but every day while my rival remained 
in Edenton, rendering him perfectly mad with 
jealousy. I had already made an engagement to 
ride with her on the succeeding day_, and at the 
hour designated I was at her father's house ready 
for the promenade ci clieval. 

She was a splendid horsewoman, but hardly was 
she in the sa_ddle before the horse, taking the bit 
in his teeth, started off at a fearful speed. My first 
thought was to swoop by and rescue her by encir- 
cling her with my right arm and lifting her from 
her seat, but I soon found that her horse was 
fleeter than mine, and that I could not overtake 
her, though whip and spur were used unmercifully. 
God alone will ever know the agony of my heart 
as I saw her borne away while I was powerless to 
assist her, and either severe injury or instant death 
seemed inevitable. Suddenly a manly form dashed 
from the side-walk, and a strong arm seized the 
bridle and threw the horse back upon his haunches, 
while she sprang lithely and unhurt to the ground^ 
her face radiant with smiles of gratitude to her 
gallant rescuer, who proved to be her suitor and my 
rival. In the excitement of the moment I sprang- 
from my horse, threw my arms around his neck 
and overwhelmed him with thanks and congratu- 

As she was unhurt and undaunted, we exchanged 
horses and rode quietly back to her father's house, 
before which the whole family — including the in- 
dignant lover — was assembled in a state of intense 
excitement and anxiety. Somehow, perhaps under 
the tuition of the fiance, they seemed inclined to 

214 A doctor's experiexces 

hold me responsible for the contretemps, and the 
scowls with which they greeted me went like dag- 
gers through my heart. Perceiving the unkindness 
of their reception and the hot flush which had con- 
sequently mantled my cheeks, she broke out in 
a ringing laugh, and said: '^Ob, I am not hurt 
a bit, and the Doctor and T intend to take sl 'drive 
-after all, for I can't stay indoors on such a beauti- 
ful afternoon."' Taking tbe hint, and feeling that 
her purpose was to defend me by thus showing ber 
■confidence, I dasbed off, and returned in a sbort 
time with my buggy and team, and despite pater- 
nal protests and the angry looks of the lover, we 
had the most delightful drive that can be conceived 
of — though she did j)lace an embargo on my lips 
-as regards the subject nearest to my heart. 

Of course, I knew nothing of what was going on 
between the twain at the time, tbough I could 
plainly perceive that he was not happy and that 
matters did not progress as he had hoped and ex- 
l^ected. Fortunately for me his leave was brief, 
and at the expiration of a week — which seemed an 
age when counted by my heart throbs and appre- 
hensions — he took his departure and I was again 
master of the situation. Poor fellow ! He was 
wounded at the head of his brigade in the battle 
of Sharpsburg, and came to Kaleigh to die in the 
arms of a doting wife, lamented by all who knew 
him, but by no one more than the fair cousm whom 
lie had loved so dearly in his younger days. As 
we stood together over his open grave and saw his 
remains lowered to their final resting-place, our 
minds naturally traveled over the long road that 
led back to the scenes which I have just recounted, 
and as we thought of them and of all the strange 
events which we had subsequently encountered to- 
gether, though we did not love him the less, we 


loved each other the more, and thanked God for 
the choice which w'e had made and for the blessed 
privilege of making it. 

On the day after his departure I sought an in- 
terview, and pleaded long and earnestly for a 
favorable answer, but all in vain. ^' I shall never 
marry. Dr. Warren, and this must end," were the 
decisive words which sealed my fate for the time 
being and made me the most miserable of men. 
^' You must marry me and this cannot end," was 
tbe only language that I could find with which to 
give expression to my feelings as I took my de- 
parture, greatly pained but more resolute of purpose 
than ever. Shortly afterward Dr. Thomas D . Warren 
gave a magnificent ball, which I attended,' with the 
firm determination not to approach her, and to de- 
vote myself to some other woman, hoping to excite 
her jealousy and thus to further my aims. The mo- 
ment, however, that she entered the room, radiant 
^as she was in her matchless beauty, I forgot my 
purpose, and breaking through the throng of young 
men which surrounded her, I insisted upon the 
privilege of dancing with her before she had had 
time to make another engagement. She accepted 
this proposition, and another for the succeeding 
«et, and then another for a "^ walk on the piazza," 
listening all the time, and not unkindly, as I ridi- 
culed her resistance to the inevitable, assured her 
of my fixed purpose to make her mine, and whis- 
pered the story of my love into her ears without 
stint or interruption. This was one of the happi- 
■est occasions of my life, for it was spent in her 
society, and it resulted in the establishment of re- 
lations between us which permitted me to plead 
my cause at discretion, without going into a formal 
courtship or making a definite issue. And so 
things continued for several weeks, the barriers 


separating our souls breakinp: down with, each suc- 
ceeding day ; a reciprocal interest and dependence 
gradually developing between us, and the clouds 
which had darkened the sky above us disappearing, 
slowly, it might be, but sufficiently to afford 
glimpses of the heaven beyond them. During the 
whole of this time 1 never asked a question con- 
cerning her engagement, but treated it as a thing 
of the past. Finally, having grown impatient of 
delay, and resolved to bring the matter to an issue, 
I said to her one night, " I have a proposition to 
make to you. You have rejected me many times, 
and you will have to do so many more if things 
go on in this way, and you are really in earnest in 
declining me — which I cannot believe. Suppose 
you try the experiment of an engagement for one 
week, just to test the matter and to see whether 
you would like it or not. I will give you my word 
as a gentleman that it shall be kept a profound 
secret and that I will release you at the end of the 
time without feeling that you have compromised 
yourself or have encouraged me in the least. 

Her eyes sparkled, and with the merriest laugh 
imaginable she answered: "Very well. But on 
condition that you will not see me during the week, 
and will take my answer at the end of that time as 
a final one." 

'" All right," said 1] " When I leave this house 
to-night it will be to absent myself for an entire 
week ; and I will take your answer as a final one 
at the expiration of that time if it kills me, though 
I shall continue to love you with all the fervor of 
which my soul is capable while consciousness re- 

''Then, o-ood niodit. Dr. Warren, and adieu 
until next Sunday afternoon, when our engage- 
ment will have ended and you can join me after 


church to hear what I have to say. I shall have 
at least one week" of repose, with no bouquets to 
preserve and no cards of thanks to write — at least 
to you." 

'' But I have not gone yet, and we are actually 
engaged — I mean for a week?" 

"Yes, actually engaged — for a week. How do 
you like it thus far?" 

" Like it, my love, my darling, it is Heaven !" 
and seizing her suddenly in my arms, I planted a 
dozen burning kisses upon her virgin lips. 

"What do you mean, sir/' she cried, as she 
struggled to free herself from my embrace, only to 
be held more tightly, and to be kissed more ardently 
than before. 

"Mean, my love! my angel? Are we not en- 
gaged, and is not this one of the privileges of an 
engaged man?" 

She escaped from me by a violent effort, burst 
into hysterical sobs, and flew from the room, while 
I slipped out«of the front door and hurried home, 
half dead between excitement at what had occurred 
and terror for the consequences of my temerity. 

For the entire week I remained in a state of the 
greatest anxiety, expecting every moment to receive 
either a hostile message from her brothers or a 
letter of denunciation from her father, or a note of 
indignant dismissal from herself, and yet hoping that 
my presumption might be pardoned in view of the 
desperate strait in which I was placed, and the high 
stake for which I had played. • 

On the succeeding Sunday afternoon I joined her 
at the church door and walked with her over to 
Hayes, and along the shore of the bay until we 
reached a secluded spot which, with its grassy sward 
and overhanging vines and perfume of jessamine, 
seemed especially constructed for such a tryst as 


ours, and which will live in raemm^y until the grass 
has covered my grave. 

" For there was I first truly blessed, 
For there in ray fond arm I pressed, 
My blushing Genevieve." 

I cannot relate the incidents of that interview, 
for they are sacred, but will only say that a revela- 
tion was made in it which crowned with victory 
the struggle of so many weeks and made me the 
proudest and the happiest of men. 

Though my desperate venture had amazed and 
startled her immeasurably, it had awakened her to 
the consciousness that her heart in its every atom 
and pulsation was mine — absolutely and exclusively 
mine. She had promptly rejected her lover, but he 
had exacted a promise that she w^ould engage her- 
self to no one for a year, and, restrained b}" a sense 
of that obligation, she w^as in a maze of doubt and 
uncertainty, from which nothing could have ex- 
tracted her save the decisive measure which my 
desperation had inspired as a crucial test of her 
feelings and a final means of deciding my destiny. 

We w^ere married on the 16th of November, 1857, 
in old St. Paul's, surrounded by loving relations 
and admiring friends, and with hearts aglow wdth 
love and replete with happiness we set out upon 
the voyage of live, dreaming only of sunny skies 
and favoring breezes. How that dream was realized 
the succeeding pages of these memoirs will disclose, 
fox henceforth they become the record of our com- 
mingled lives — the history of two existences 
molded into one by the plastic power of reciprocal 
affection and a common destiny. 

After a brief visit to relatives in Virginia and 
to friends in New York — where, by the way, we 
met the aforsaid lover on his w^edding trip — we re- 


turned to Carolina and took up our residence at 
Albania, a beautiful estate in the immediate vicinity 
of Edenton. On the day previous to our marriage 
J had been summoned to Hayes, and had received 
from Mr. Johnstone deeds for Albania and a num- 
ber of servants — including his best cook — and a 
considerable sum of money, with the assurance 
that his gift to my intended wife would be found 
in his will, and that it was a handsome one. 

220 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

The promised gift never came for reasons which 
I will proceed to explain, although the relation of 
the story fires my blood even at this distant day. 

Mr. Johnstone, it is true, regarded secession as a 
crime, but it was from a personal standpoint alone. 
Always morbidly apprehensive of the ''poor-house," 
.he saw in the contest between the sections certain 
l^ecuniary ruin for himself. There developed there- 
fore from this morbid apprehension of poverty an 
uncompromising hatred of all who had precipitated 
the war, and who were taking part in it. In this 
way he became alienated from his friends and fam- 
ily connections, for though none of us were " ori- 
ginal secessionists," we had entered the service 
bij^the Confederacy so soon as North Carolinajoined 
her fortunes with it and called her sons to arms. 
He even permitted himself to hate his dearly loved 
friend and relative, the rector, because several of 
his sons had volunteered, and he had sought ref- 
uge under the roof of one of them at Chapel Hill. 
Under the influence of these feelings, his already 
diseased brain lost its equilibrium, and insanity 
manifested itself under the guise of a monomania 
of furious hatred of his family. James, his adopted 
son, who was living at Ha3^es, where Mr. John- 
stone had sought refuge after the breaking out of 
the war, and devoting himself with unfaltering as- 


siduity to the care of the old man, endeavored to 
pacify and restrain him, hut only with the result 
of falling equally under the ban of his displeasure, 
as the sequel only too cruelly demonstrated. 

Concealing his sentiments and purposes with 
that refinement of cunning which so often charac- 
terizes the insane, he invited my sister to the li- 
brary, and, in the most friendly manner, proposed 
a visit to her father at Lynchburg, Virginia, upon 
the grounds of her delicate health, and of her 
long separation fi'om her family. Suspecting no 
€vil design, as their relations had always been 
most cordial and confidential, the poor girl thanked 
him kindly for his solicitude, and accepted his 
seemingly considerate suggestion. It was there- 
fore arranged that she and her children should set 
out on the succeeding day for the nearest ferry on» 
the Chowan, accompanied by her husband, who 
was to return after having crossed the river with 
his family. 

Mr. Johnstone helped the mother and her little 
flock into the carriage, kissed each one most affec- 
tionately, begged them to return as soon as possi- 
ble, and remained upon the portico waving his 
handkerchief after them until they were out of 
sight. In an hour afterward he ordered the farm 
wagons to be brought to the house, had all of their 
effects placed in them, hauled over to Edenton, and 
pitched pell-mell into the street before the door of 
my father's unoccupied house. At the same time 
he dispatched a messenger with a note for James, 
in which he disinherited the young man — the 
adopted son whom he had raised so tenderly, and 
professed to love so well — and declared that neither 
he nor his wife nor their children should cross his 
(Mr. Johnstone's) threshold again.' He then sent 
to Raleigh and had removed from the vault of the 

222 A doctor's experiences 

bank there the will which he had previously made 
in favor of his relatives, and destroyed it with 
great parade of exaltation. 

James immediately returned to Hayes, but was^ 
refused admittance. Mr. Samuel Johnstone sub- 
sequently came to Edenton and sought an inter- 
view, only to be treated with such indignity as to 
send him in sorrow to his grave. My wife, who 
had been from childhood the object of his special 
love and admiration, sent him a kind message, to 
which he returned no answer. In a word, without 
the semblance of an excuse or the shadow of a justi- 
fication, he persistently turned his back upon all 
who were allied to him by ties of blood, and spent 
the remainder of his days in reviling them and in 
concocting a scheme for their humiliation and ruin. 
, He then appeared in an entirely new role, mani- 
festing a complete revolution in his sentiments and 
deportment. He had been the most exclusive of 
men, selecting his associates from the highest ranks 
of society, and manifesting a specially dignified 
and reserved manner. He now sought the associa- 
tion of individuals beneath him in birth, educa- 
tion, and position, and treated them as boon com- 
panions and intimate friends. 

He had plumed himself upon his own integrity, 
and his ostracism of dishonest and unscrupulous 
men. He made it a point to take into his confi- 
dence, and to treat with marked consideration, 
various persons for whose conduct and character he 
had expressed disapprobation during his entire 
life. He had manifested infinite respect for reli- 
gion and a sincere attachment to the church. He 
became an open blasphemer, ostentatiously proclaim- 
ing his disbelief, and bitterly denouncing minis- 
ters of the gospel and all who professed a respect 
for them. He had been distinguished for the dig- 


nity of liis bearing, the modesty of his deportment, 
the elegance of his dress and the refinement of 
his language. He grew familiar, demonstrative 
and slovenly, while his conversation assumed a 
tone of positive vulgarity — coarse oaths and low 
slang constituting its essential elements. For the 
house which his father had built, under whose roof 
he had been born and reared^ and in whose cham- 
bers his sisters had lived and died, he had ever ex- 
hibited a marked veneration . He made it the home of a 
promiscuous hospitality, and the rendezvous of sub- 
ordinates and inferiors. Apartments which had 
been hallowed in his eyes by their associations with 
those whom he honored and loved, and which had 
been studiously closed for years, were thrown open 
to hirelings and overseers ; heirlooms which had 
been guarded with scrupulous vigilance were lav- 
ished upon the " poor trash" which ministered to 
his prejudices ; family jewels which had been 
treasured with the fondest love and the greatest 
sacredness were distributed among his newly-chosen 
favorites ; and a table which had been honored by 
the presence of governors, senators, judges, bish- 
ops, professors, ministers, and others of pure blood 
or good breeding or high position — the representa- 
tives of the family or its friends and associates — 
was daily prostituted to the entertainment of negro 
drivers, tenants of the dependent farms, employes 
about the premises, loafers from the adjacent town, 
and the canaille of the neighborhood in general — 
neither washed hands nor shodden feet nor clean 
shirts nor coats of any description being de rig- 
ueur. In a word, during the remainder of his days 
the change in his ideas, habits, feelings and senti- 
ments was as radical as the motive which he gave 
for his aversion to his relatives was groundless, 
insufficient and absurd. 

224 A doctor's experiences 

He died in 1865, and by his will lie bequeathed 
his property principally to three persons, not one 
of whom was allied to him by the ties of blood or 
had the slightest claim upon his sentiments of 
gratitude or his sense of obligation. 

Though we were impoverished hj the war, and 
but the representatives of prestige and tradition, 
while our adversaries had already been made rich 
by his bounty, we determined to contest the will at 
all hazards and at any sacrifice. 

The trial came off in the winter of 1866, and it 
proved one of the most interesting and exciting 
that had ever occurred in Carolina. The family 
was represented by Graham, Bragg, Vance, Hin- 
ton, and W. A. Moore, and the legatees by B. F. 
Moore, Poole, Heathy and Winston, all men of 
great ability, learning, and experience, and from 
what I have learned — for I was not present — it was 
veritably a warfare of giants. 

It was incontestably established that Mr. John- 
stone had for many years been subject to fits of 
positive mania, which had become more frequent 
and prolonged with his advancing age ; that he 
had twice tried to take his own life, had once at- 
tempted to commit murder ; that he had repeatedly 
been found wandering about the plantation without 
shoes, and clothed onh^ in his shirt ; that imme- 
diately preceding the making of Ms will, and 
afterward, there had appeared a complete revolu- 
tion in his feelings, tastes, habits, and ideas, and 
that the motive upon which his conduct to his rela- 
tives was based — their alleged desertion of him on 
the breaking out of the war — was absolutely false 
and fallacious, such as could not have been accepted 
as an incentive to action by a '' sound and dispos- 
ing mind." 

As regards this great question of motive, I must 


pause to tell you that it was proved beyond perad- 
venture that his relatives did not desert him, but 
remained with him until he requested or forced 
them to leave ; that they did not neglect him in 
any sense or to the slightest extent, inasmuch as 
■James Johnstone and his wife nursed him and min- 
istered to him to the fullest extent of human capa- 
bility so long as he permitted them to do so ; that 
my wife had only just offered him an asylum un- 
der my roof, which he had gratefully accepted ; that 
they were not secessionists, for James continued an 
unflinching Union man during the war, while the 
•others were originally Whigs, and only entered 
the Confederate service after the issue had been 
made, and to avert the very calamities which Mr. 
Johnstone apprehended. 

Dr. William A. Hammond, the learned alienist, 
was present at the trial, and after having heard 
the evidence declared that the wilj was not the off- 
spring of that union of intelligence and volition which 
•constitutes sanity, but was the progeny of a veritable 
monomania which had its origin in a delusion, and 
was a phase of insanity of the most palpable and 
decided character. 

And yet, strange to relate, the verdict was un- 
favorable to us, and its record was permitted though 
it was manifestly against the evidence, and it con- 
signed to ruin and dependence those who were 
bound to him by ties of blood and of a life-long 
friendship, and elevated to wealth and position three 
persons who were not connected with him, and who 
had no claims upon his bounty. 

Independent of the pecuniary injury which this 
judgment entailed upon the rector's family, the 
moral effect was overwhelming. They had been 
reared to regard Hayes with peculiar pride and af- 
fection — to love it as the home of their ancestors 

226 A doctor's experiences 

and the scene of the happiest memories of their 
chiklhood — and when they saw it adjudged to- 
strangers, and its treasures of family- plate and 
pictures and heirlooms surrendered to alien hands,, 
their hearts were rifted to the core, and turning 
their faces toward distant lands, they left the final 
judgment to Him whom their father had taught 
them to trust as a God of eternal truth and of 
never-failing justice. 

As the principal actors in this drama have long 
since been judged by the highest of tribunals — for 
two of the three legatees soon followed their bene- 
factor to the grave — and as I do not wish to rake 
up unnecessarily the ashes of the past, I shall in- 
dulge in no harsh criticism of their conduct, but^ 
in view of the poverty and the suffering entailed 
upon those who are dear to me, I could not feel 
kindly toward them if my soul were the forfeit. 
Save for a few months immediately after the war, 
when everything was swept away^ and those with 
whom my lot was cast had naught but sympathy 
to give me, my ow^n family has never realized that 
they had missed the fortune which was so right- 
fully theirs. But there are others of my connec- 
tion and of my blood upon whom this blow fell 
with the blighting and crushing impetus of the 
lio;htnin2:'s flash. 

In an obscure county m Texas, oppressed by the 
burden of a dependent family, fettered by the mis- 
fortune of delicate health, and crippled by the want 
of early training in manual labor, there exists a 
prematurely old man, striving to gain a living for 
those who are dear to him by the sweat of his brow 
in the cultivation of the soil. Were justice done 
him his name would be recorded to-day on the rolls 
of the Peers of the United Kingdom, and he would 
return o the old house at Hayes as its honored 


master and the rightful owner of the broad acres 
which surround it, while his wife and daughters 
woukl resume that position in society for which 
their birth, their beauty and their virtues so pre- 
eminently fit them. 

Sorrow and suffering have no depths which he 
and those dependent upon him have not fathomed 
since that day, when without provocation on his 
part or warning from his insane relative, he was 
ruthlessly banished from the home of his ancestors, 
and left to fight the battle of life single-handed, 
penniless, having no profession to fall back upon, 
and with a family of little ones pulling at his heart- 
strings. You cannot wonder, therefore^ if my 
heart is incapable of wearing a mantle of charity 
broad enough to embrace the parties who, at any 
rate, profited by that which brought destruction to 
the interests and disaster to the lives of those who are 
near and dear to me. It was in connection with the 
contention over this estate that I first saw the true 
inwardness of human nature — that I received my ear- 
liest and hardest lesson respeeting the ingratitude 
and treachery of mankind. As the son of the 
leading physician of the place, the husband of its 
handsomest and supposedly richest woman, the 
Surgeon-General of the State, and the confidential 
friend of the Governor, my visits to Edenton had 
been veritable ovations ; and I had flattered myself 
that I had not an enemy among its inhabitants, 
but that each was a friend upon whom I could rely 
for his money or his blood. No sooner had the 
will been read when I made the discovery, that in 
the day of adversity human friendship fades as the 
flowers wither beneath the blight of the early frost. 
I found that the legatees were the heroes of the hour, 
while we had scarcely a corporal's guard of friends 
and followers ; and it was then, as I have already 

228 A doctor's experiences 

told you, that the poor negroes rallied so kiadly 
around us. and by their manifestations of sympathy 
•and their tokens of good will soothed our lacerated 
hearts and filled them with undying thankfulness. 

I recall J especially, the conduct of an individual 
whose real name I shall supress for his children's 
sake. He. was invariably called ''the Colonel'* 
away from home and "Mr. D. F." in Edenton, 
where he was better known and estimated. He 
acquired this cognomen because of a circumstance 
to which I was a witness. There lived in that part 
of the country a Portugese, named Olivera, who 
manifested many eccentricities of character, and 
whose English was simply incomprehensible. He 
was, withal, sharp-witted, high-tempered, and al- 
ways ready to strike back, usually getting the bet- 
ter of every controversy. When aroused, with his 
flashing eyes, his arching brows, his blazing cheeks, 
and his diminutive but martial figure, he was as 
^' good as a circus" to look at — from a distance. 

The "Colonel," or "Mr. D. F.," as he has ever 
<since been called, was a remarkable specimen of 
humanity. For selling goods and raising early 
vegetables nature had qualified him admirably, but 
there she had drawn a line of demarcation and had 
remorselessly left him to the solitude of these ex- 
clusive talents. He did not begin though to realize 
the situation, and aspired to the reputation of a 
savant in every department of knowledge as well 
as to the role of an intime with all persons of posi- 
tion. He would have joined issue with St. Augus- 
tin on theology, or with ^sculapius on medicine, 
or with Newton on science, or with Hoyle on whist, 
or with d'Orsay on fashion, or with any one on any 
subject, and believed that he had given each a 
lesson in his specialty. He affected to have private 
sources of information in resrard to all matters of 


public interest and to know the secret history of 
every man discussed or circumstance referred to. 
No person of note could he mentioned, but he as- 
sumed to be his special friend and confidant, and 
his imaginary correspondence with heads of depart- 
ments, commanding generals, leading statesmen, 
etc., would have filled volumes. With all, he was, 
the vainest and the most touchy of men, and to 
ridicule him or to disparage him or turn the laugh 
on him was to make him an enemy for life. 
Obstinacy was also a leading trait in his character, 
and he adhered to his statements with a tenacity 
such as only supreme ignorance combined with 
consummate egotism could have engendered. 

So much for the dramatis personce of my story. 
One day he was standing on his door-step — the 
stage upon which he usually played his role of Sir 
Oracle — engaged in his favorite pastime of discuss- 
ing some subject about which he knew nothing, 
when old Olivera was seen coming down the street 
smoking his short pipe, and talking to himself as 
was his wont. ^'' Here comes Olivera," exclaimed 
the " Colonel." " Look out now for some fun. I 
shall quiz him a little and make him show what a 
fool he is." 

" All right," cried the crowds as the old fellow 
approached, touched his cap politely and walked on. 

" Stop a moment, sir, and let me pass the com- 
pliments of the day," said the ''Colonel," and, as 
Olivera obeyed and turned to him inquiringly, he 
added, "Good morning, Mr. Portuguese." 

Olivera drew himself up, took off his cap, and 
bowing low, answered, " Good morning to ye, 
Mister Damme Foole," with an emphasis of con- 
tempt such as I never heard concentrated in human 
language. The ''Colonel" was completely taken 
aback, and, with an expression of mingled amaze- 

230 A doctor's experiences 

raent and humiliation, stammered out something 
unintelligible and then beat a precipitate retreat 
into the back room of his store, from which he only 
ventured out to wait on his customers and to seek 
his meals for weeks afterward. The idea that any 
one should presume to address an insulting epithet 
to him was more than he could stand, and he 
nursed his wrath for many a long day over it. 
Ever afterward he was spoken of as " Mr. D. F.," 
to his supreme disgust and indignation. As I 
have already indicated, his conduct in connection 
with the contest over the will was provoking, to 
say the least of it, though he paid dearly enough 
for his treason in the end. He had always pre- 
tended to be 9, devoted friend of the rector's family, 
and that profession had been the source to him of a 
^' mint of money " in the way of business ; but so 
soon as the will was produced he became an open 
enemy and posed as the particular friend and con- 
fidant of Mr. Johnstone — who, to my certain 
knowledge, had always regarded him with positive 
disdain and aversion. He essayed to play the role 
of a ''willing witness" at the trial, pretending to 
relate conversations previous to the war in which 
Mr. Johnstone had unkindly criticised the rector 
and his family ; but he soon had reason to wish 
himself hidden beneath his counter or buried in 
his cabbage beds or drowned in his rain-gage. 
Governor Bragg, with that ingenuity and power 
of satire of which he was so specially a master, 
''went for him" in a way which utterly confused 
and annihilated him. The terrible castigation 
which he received on that occasion completely 
broke him down, and he died a few years after- 
ward, leaving a void which is still esteemed a 
blessing by others besides old Olivera, the sponsor 

IN THREE 'continents. 231 

who gave him the name which he carried with him 
to his grave. 

If condign punishment had been meted out to all 
who went back on their old friends, the village 
parson and the family doctor, in those days of ad- 
versity, the work of final retribution would be ma- 
terially lightened, and the devil cheated out of 
many a victim for whom he has reserved a warm 
reception in the great hereafter. 

Que pensez vous, mon ami f 




My Dear Doctor : 

We took up our residence at Albania, as I have 
already told you. This plantation contained over 
six hundred acres, and though it was not adapted 
to the growth of corn and cotton — as a somewhat 
costly experience demonstrated — it produced fruit 
and vegetables abundantly. After that discovery I 
converted it into a regular '' truck farm/' and thus 
became the j^ioneer in a business which has since re- 
deemed that section and made it one of the richest 
in North Carolina. 

Notwithstanding my professional engagements! 
found time to amuse myself with the occupations 
incident to country life, and some of the pleasant- 
est moments of my existence were spent among the 
grape vines and potato rows at Albania. At any 
rate the dream of my life has ever since been to sink 
the shop at the first convenient moment and to retire 
in blissful ease and undisturbed repose suh tegmine 
fagi for the remainder of my days. 

The house was beautiful in appearance and com- 
plete in arrangements, and we furnished it from 
cellar to attic according to our own tastes ; the 
grounds had been laid out with great skill and we 
adorned them with shade trees, parterres of flow- 
ers and hedges of shrubbery ; the old bridge span- 
ning the little stream which separated the place 
from the town limits was pulled down and a grace- 


ful structure erected in its stead ; the orchard wa& 
trimmed J culled, and planted with every variety of 
fruit trees ; the garden was reclaimed from the 
rank weeds which overran it, laid out in appro- 
priate beds, and sown with the choicest vegetables ; 
and in fact nothing was left undone to render our 
home comfortable, beautiful and attractive — to make 
it a source of pride and satisfaction to ourselves^ 
and, as we hoped, to our children. But it soon 
became apparent that amid the trees and flowers 
and shrubs that we loved so well there lurked the 
seeds of a miasm which was undermining the 
health of her who was its chief ornament and at- 
traction. My beloved wife grew ill there, the 
roses faded from her cheeks and the yellow tint of 
malarial poisoning took their places, and I realized 
the painful fact that the home which we loved so 
well must be abandoned or that she would die. It was 
in vain that she sought the recuperating breezes of 
the seashore and the invigorating air of the moun- 
tains ; her return to Albania was always attended 
by fresh sickness and renewed suffering. The 
birth of a babe brought infinite joy to our hearts, 
but no renewal of health to the fading mother, 
while the child seemed to languish from its first 
breath. At this juncture, while in a state of anx- 
ious solicitude for the two beings upon whom my 
heart's idolatry was concentrated, and uncertain 
what to do for their relief, a kind Providence seemed 
to open the way to a solution of the difficulty. A 
death occurred in the faculty of the University of 
Maryland, and I eagerly entered the list as a can- 
didate for the vacant professorship, thinking that 
success would secure a commanding position and a 
pleasant residence in the city of Baltimore, where 
I hoped long lives of health and happiness were 
reserved for me and mine. I was successful, and 

'234 A doctor's experiences 

my beautiful home was sold as a preliminary to my 
dej)arture from Carolina. How my brain reels and 
my heart aches as I write these words ! I loved 
Albania, for it was there that I had realized the 
blissful sense of possessing a home of my own; 
there that the halcyon days of my existence were 
passed in sweet communion with a kindred spirit ; 
there that -my first-born first beheld the light of 
heaven and of her mother's loving eyes, and I felt 
as I subscribed to the deed which made it another's 
as if I were signing away my happiness and my 
life. I would rather have lived there in rags and 
wretchedness than in the palace of the Tuileries in 
the meridian of its splendor, and nothing of grand- 
eur and of glory that the heart can conceive of 
could have induced me to part with it had I not 
believed its surrender essential to the safety of my 
wife and child. The gloom w^hich then oppressed 
me proved a veritable prognostication of evil — one 
of those strange presages of disaster which some- 
times flash through the mind and fill it with 
dread in spite of reason and philosophj^ ; for 
in less than a year from the day on which that 
fatal document was signed, sealed and delivered, 
the storm of war had burst upon the country, bring- 
ing with it the dissipation of my plans and the 
ruin of my hopes, and making me a wanderer upon 
the earth, without a home or a refuge that I could 
call my own. 

I. sold the estate to John A. Benbury, taking 
neither a lien upon it nor security of any kind for 
it, and accepting his ^'promissory notes" for a 
great portion of the purchase money. He was a 
good man. and an honest one, and all would have 
been well but for the '' cruel war," which num- 
bered him among its victims and left me penniless. 

At the battle of Gaines' Mills, while gallantly 


leading bis company — the ^^ Albemarle Guards" — 
wbich I bad organized during tbe Jobn Brown ex- 
citement, be was struck by a conical ball, wbich 
entered bis '^ pocket-book" and divided itself into 
halves — one remaining in situ, tbe other glancing 
upward through tbe bladder, and producing a 
wound from which be died a few days afterward. I 
stood by bis bedside as bis brave spirit took its 
flight with a heart overflowing with the memories 
of our boyhood, and eyes sufl'used with tears of re- 
gret for bis loss, little thinking at the time that 
tbe missile wbich carried death to him and despair 
to bis loving wife was freighted also with disaster 
to me and mine. 

It turned out afterward that nothing remained 
of bis estate save Albania, and bis wife claiming 
the "right of dower" upon it, I was compelled to 
sell tbe "^ promissory notes for what they would 
bring — which was a mere song— and I thus lost 
my beloved home and a greater portion of the so- 
called purchase-money. Hard lines, were they not, 
my friend? 

It was during tbe period of my residence at Al- 
bania that tbe country w^as startled by the intelli- 
gence of tbe John Brown escapade at Harper's 
Ferry, Virginia. It produced a profound sensation 
throughout tbe South, for it was recognized as tbe 
first blast from the war cloud which overshadowed 
tbe country. The organization of military com- 
panies became the order of the day, and tbe citizens 
of Edenton were not behind-hand in the work. At 
a meeting called for this purpose, more than a 
bundred recruits were immediately enrolled, tbe 
name of "tbe Albemarle Guards" was selected 
for tbe organization, and, somewhat to my surprise 
for I bad no military training, I was elected its 
captain by an overwhelming majority. I devoted 

236 A doctor's experiences 

my self J however, with great assiduity to the work^ 
and was soon gratified by having under my com- 
mand a fully equi}3ped and a thoroughly drilled 
company. Although m\' connection with it was 
happily of brief duration, as I removed to Baltimore 
a short time afterward, it was long enough to in- 
volve me in an adventure which came near termi- 
nating my life and that of another person. We 
had taken possession of a large wharf, and were 
engaged in target practice, when a man by the 
name of Mitchell — a noted bear-hunter and a very 
desperate character when under the influence of 
drink — assaulted the guard and attempted to break 
through the lines for the purpose of reaching a 
boat that was moored beyond them. Having as- 
certained the cause of the difficulty, I ordered the 
company to cease firing for the time being, while I 
attempted to mollify the fellow and to conduct him 
quietly to his boat, so as to get him out of harm's 
way as quickly as possible. He was polite enough 
to me as w^e walked along, but he refused to be ap- 
peased so far as the guard was concerned, and con- 
tinued to indulge in the fiercest oaths and threats 
against them. Having reached the end of the 
wharf, he stepped into the boat, and, turning sud- 
denly, grappled me by the legs and attempted to 
throw me over him into the water, with the evi- 
dent purpose of committing murder. I had my 
drawn sword in my right hand, but the attack was 
so sudden and w^e were at such close quarters that 
1 could not use it, and the only thing I managed to 
do was to throw my left arm around his neck in 
such a way that we came down into the boat to- 
gether. Disengaging myself in an instant, I struck 
him three blows over the head with my sword, and 
he lay bleeding and senseless at my feet. For the 
moment I thought I had killed him, and spring- 



ing to the wharf again I called the guard and 
ordered them to lift him carefully out of the boat, 
and to place him upon the ground — when it soon 
became apparent that though severely wounded he 
was still alive. Having played the role militant^ I 
now devoted myself to the role professional, and 
throwing off my coat and staunching the blood with 
handkerchiefs saturated with cold water, I sent to 
my office for the necessary appliances, and jjro- 
ceeded to dress his wounds secundum art em. 

Before I had completed my work consciousness 
returned, and with it sobriety, and his professions 
of penitence and regret were overwhelming, but 
not so sincere in my judgment as I should have 
liked considering his desperate character and the 
fact that my professional duties called me to his 
neighborhood at all hours of the day and night. 
.The amusing feature of the affair was his lamenta- 
tions over a "brand new set of crockery," as he de- 
scribed it, which he had expressly come to town 
"to purchase for the old woman," and had been 
broken in the melee, as it was in the bottom of the 
boat. In the amiability of mind which my own 
escape and his return to consciousness inspired, I 
sent to the nearest store and had another set pur- 
chased for him ; and he sailed off with a bandaged 
head and a replenished cargo amid the huzzas of 
the entire company. 

This was the only incident of moment that oc- 
curred while I commanded the company, but it was 
decimated afterward. It left Edenton at the begin- 
ning of the war more than a hundred strong, and 
having participated in every battle in which Gen- 
eral Lee's army was concerned, it returned after 
the surrender with only ten men on its muster list. 

I did not see Mitchell again for several weeks, 
when our meeting was of a peculiar and exciting 

238 A doctor's experiences 

character. I was induced by some friends to go with 
them on a ' 'deer hunt, ' ' and was placed at a stand in 
the midst of a pocoson at least a mile distant from 
any other person. After waiting patiently for nearly 
an hour I left the stand and started homeward, 
when I was startled by^the approach of footsteps, 
and peering beneath the undergrowth, I saw 
Mitchell making his was stealthily through the 
swamp and coming directly toward me. My blood 
curdled^ but I prepared to defend my life, as I had 
heard ol his threat to ''get even with Dr. Warren 
before the end of the year," and I knew that I had 
a desperado to deal with. Concealing myself un- 
til he was not more than twenty feet distant, I 
startled him by suddenly crying out : ''Halt," and 
pointing my cocked gun at his head, said: "Put 
down that gun, and your box of caps with it, or I 
shall blow your brains out." He was taken utterly 
aback, and as his gun was uncocked and on his 
shoulder he realized that I had the advantage of 
him and obeyed in an instant. 

"Now," said I, "turn around and go home. 
Your gun is safe where it is and you can return and 
get it to-morrow." 

"The devil you say. Doctor; and what do you 
want with my box of caps ? And why do you 
treat me in this way, any how ? I would not hurt 
a hair of your head for Dr. Tom's plantation." 

"Oh! that is all very well. Talk is cheap, 
you know. I befriended you and you tried to 
drown me. I dressed your wounds and gave you a 
new set of crockery, and you told Elisha Smith 
that you would "get even with me" before the 
year was out. I am going to destroy your caps so 
that you can't sneak back here to get your gun and 
shoot me before I am out of this pocoson." 

But, Doctor, them caps cost a quarter. I 



bought them at oh:l Billy Badham's last night, and 
he would not trust me for them, neither. I really 
can't afford to lose them." 

"As to that, you shan't lose them. I will tell 
Mr. Badham to let you have two boxes on my ac- 

" Well, that is talking sense, and you are a 
gentleman, any way. Do you think I would shoot 
you? I am the best friend you and the old man 
have in Cowpenneck." 

'' I would not trust you, Mitchell, if you thought 
you had a fair chance at me, as you supposed to-day. 
What did you come into the swamp for, and why 
did you hunt me up ? But it is useless to talk 
further on this subject. My finger is getting 
rather stiff from pressing so long on this trigger, 
and I may send you to "kingdom come' before I 
know it. So now be off at once." And he went 
off in a hurry, while I^ having first taken the pre- 
caution to discharge his gun and to throw his caps 
in the mud, followed after him until I reached the 
high road and rejoined my friends, feeling more 
comfortably than I had done for the preceding half 
hour. I am convinced that he sought me with the de- 
liberate purpose of taking my life, and that nothing 
saved me but the fact that I had changed my po- 
sition and took time by the forelock when he made 
his appearance. How the matter might have re- 
sulted had not a kind providence afHicted him with 
pneumonia a short time afterward, and made me 
the instrument by which his life was saved and his 
resentment appeased, it is impossible to say with 
accuracy ; but I am strongly inclined to the belief 
that on some dark night, while driving alone in his 
neighborhood, I should have fallen by the wayside 
before the great bear hunter's unerring shot-gun. 

Durinsf the summer which succeeded mv election 

240 A doctor's experiences 

to tlie chair of materia medica and therapeutics in. 
the University of Maryland, I carried my family to 
the Virginia Springs, visiting the most not-ed of 
them, making many pleasant acquaintances, and 
having on the whole a very delightful time. 

The White Sulphur especially was crowded with 
visitors, embracing many leading politicians from 
the Southern States, while the great topic of con- 
versation was the anticipated war between the sec- 
tions — it being generall}^ believed that the Korth 
would be ignominiously beaten within thirty days 
from the commencement of hostilities. So much 
for human foresight and for political sagacity in 

I stopped for a few days at the Sweet Chalybeate, 
the waters of which contained iron in abundance, 
and have great reputation in cases of anaemia. 
There I met with a strange old man, who though 
a Jew by birth and a gambler by profession, proved 
one of the truest friends that 1 have ever been 
blessed with. The first time that my wife and I 
went to the table cVhote, we found sitting opposite 
to us a man with long gray hair and flowing 
beard, possessing the Hebrew type of countenance 
in a marked degree, and endowed with a loquacity 
which was seemingly limitless. Talk to us he 
would, asking every possible question, and giving the 
fullest details concerning his own personal history, 
but taking especial care not to be impolite or offensive. 
He struck me as a garrulous veillard vf\i\\ a morbid 
curiosity and great simplicity of character, though 
subsequent experience showed that there was more 
in him than appearances indicated. We treated 
him politely and answ^ered his questions frankly, 
but I made it a point to request the manager to 
move our seats, thinking in that way to get rid of 
our inquisitive friend. But that plan was unsuc- 


cessfal. So soon as he discovered our locality he 
again took a seat opposite to us, remarking as he 
did so, '' Don't think me rude, hut I have taken a 
fancy to you folks and have followed you up, you 
see." It thus became impossible to avoid him 
without making an issue, and as he was harmless and 
not disposed to intrude unduly on our privacy, we 
permitted him to have his way and to talk to us at 
discretion. It turned out that he resided in Balti- 
more, was the brother of the late Captain Levy, U. 
S. N., and had, during the greater part of his life, 
been engaged in keeping a faro bank, by means of 
which he managed to live — as he was what the 
gamblers call a " square player." Indeed, as dis- 
reputable as was his occupation, he was strictly 
honest«and honorable, and nothing could have in- 
duced him to take any advantage beyond that 
which '' the game allows." He had seen a great 
deal of life, and though as simple as a child him- 
self, he knew human nature ah ovo usque ad mala, 
and was one of the best judges of men that I ever 
saw. I took daily walks with him, and was greatly 
entertained by the stories which he told of his long 
and curious career, and the questions which he 
asked of all whom he encountered in regard to 
everything upon the face of the earth. And I 
finally attended him in an attack of illness of some 
severity, in connection with which he believed that 
I had saved his life ; he became my devoted friend 
for the remainder of his days, as you will see in the 
course of this narrative. At the Healing Springs, 
in Bath county, I met Mr. James C. Johnstone, 
and was detained there for several weeks with 
him, as he was suffering from one of his periodical 
attacks of ''nervousness," or, in other words, in- 
sanity. So decidedly suicidal was his mania and 
gO violent were his ravings over the '' unpardon- 

242 A doctor's expereexces 

able sin '"' which he alleged he had committed — 
his constant sobs, shrieks and imprecations — that 
we had to watch him with ceaseless vigilance to 
prevent him from taking his life and from being 
overheard by those around him. Indeed, with the 
latter end in view, we rented the cottage on either 
side of his, which was fortunately somewhat sep- 
arated from the rest — so as to p)revent them from 
being occupied by other guests, to whom his con- 
dition would necessarily have revealed itself. On 
some days he had lucid intervals, and during these 
he invariably implored me to place him under re- 
straint, saying he feared that he might do some- 
thing desperate either with himself or with his 
property in the excitement of his nervous attacks, of 
the true nature of which he seemed to have had an 
idea, as he frequently remarked that insanity was 
in his blood, which was lamentably true. And 
yet, strange to relate, certain parties who were 
witnesses of all that occurred there, and who daily 
discussed with me the question of conveying him 
to the lunatic asylum at Staunton, testified at the 
trial in explicit terms that they had ^' never seen 
aught in his conduct which justified a doubt as ta 
his sanity." 

It is true that they were remembered in the will, 
but I believe them to be perfectly honest men ; 
and I have never been able to understand their 
testimony, as I was not there to refresh their 
memories by a few pertinent questions ; such for 
instance as : Why we watched him together so vi- 
gilantly? Why we rented the contiguous cottages? 
Why we discussed the question of conveying him 
to Staunton? etc. 

My father, who was a shrewd observer, always 
said that a man could bring himself to believe 
whatever he desired to believe without a conscious 


compromise of integrity. The truth of this idea 
was certainly illustrated in this instance, for the 
parties in question learned to forget just what they 
desired to forget, and still preserved their con- 
sciences intact, as I am thoroughly convinced. 

It was during my sojourn at the Healing Springs 
and amid my solitary vigils at the bedside of this 
wretched lunatic that I had revealed to me the true 
nature of the burden which had so long weighed 
upon his soul, and given significance to his inter- 
minable ravings respecting the "unpardonable 
sin" about which he raved so persistently. 

It is useless to go into particulars now — though 
I should have done so at the trial in the interest of 
truth and justice — since he has been judged already 
at that bar from which there is no appeal, but I 
will simply say that, in failing to make the resti- 
tution for which his original will was intended, he 
committed as infamous a crime as ever disgraced 
humanity, if in the possession of his faculties and 
really responsible for his acts. In a word, I ascer- 
tained with absolute certainty that he was either 
a madman and beyond the pale of all moral re- 
sponsibility, or a criminal, and deserving of one of 
the severest penalties known to the law— a punish- 
ment which would have transmitted his name in 
infamy to posterity. 

With a positive knowledge of the secret history of 
his life, I can and I do throw the mantle of charity 
over his deeds ; and I implore you and all who may 
read these pages to believe with me that the con- 
duct of his later days was the result and the ex]30- 
nent of positive physical disease, of a cerebral me- 
tamorphosis and degeneration, which filled his mind 
with delusions, perverted his moral sense and abro- 
gated his free agency and responsibility. 

But "spilt milk" is a commodity over which 

244 • A doctor's experiexces 

lamentations have long since been voted a drug, 
and I will let this matter rest where a facile jury has 
left it, with the/emark that the greatest wrong that 
can he done to the memory of Mr. Johnstone is to 
ascribe to him reason and responsibility, since 
such an assumption places him in the position of 
having really committed the ^'unpardonable sin'' 
of depriving the rector and his family of property 
which was theirs already and which he had no legal 
right to alienate. 

Justice to the living and the dead constrains me 
to say that the legatees were ignorant of the fact 
to which I allude, and that the only jierson who 
could have thrown light upon it drowned herself in 
the adjacent creek during an attack of temporary 
insanity induced by the distress which her knowl- 
edge of it had occasioned. 




My Dear Doctor : 

It was a serious thing to go to a great city and 
undertake the role of a professor, and I felt the 
responsibility of my position most acutely, espe- 
cially as my success in obtaining it had naturally 
excited the jealousy of my competitors and their 

I had prepared a full course of lectures in advance, 
and I thought I should have nothing to do but to 
read them in an impressive manner. In this I 
made a fearful mistake, as I soon learned to my 
sorrow, for I found not only that mere didactic 
teaching was but a small portion of the labor to 
which I stood committed, but that my lectures were 
not at all adapted to the purposes for which they 
bad been prepared. 

The medical charge of the hospital attached to 
the college was at once assigned me, and I had to 
visit its wards daily, followed by a crowd of sharp- 
witted students, to make an accurate diagnosis, to 
prescribe appropriately, and to explain everything 
of clinical significance in each case that presented 

Fortunately, I had been a thorough student from 
the day of my defeat in the ^sculapian Society, 
and my experience in hospitals abroad and at the 
bedside at home had given me that readiness in 
interpreting morbid phenomena, that facility in the 


emj)loyment of remedies, and that practical knowl- 
edge of disease in general which the exigencies of 
the situation so peremptorily demanded ; while my 
fluency of speech — which, I am sure, you will not 
consider me egotistical in claiming — assured my 
success as a clinical lecturer from the start. But 
the task was no easy one, and the amount of 
'' midnight oil" consumed in preparing for my 
daily duties can hardly be estimated, as I had 
every stimulus to exertion that could inspire the 
human heart. Strange to say, I experienced more 
difficult}" with my regular lectures than with any- 
thing else, and for some time I realized that I w^as 
making a failure in that regard. I soon discovered 
that, although my lectures were finished discourses 
from a literary and a scientific point of view, they 
did not impress my auditors, hut, on the contrary, 
rendered them listless and unsympathetic. Unable 
to appreciate the situation, and surprised that my 
elaborate disquisitions seemed to be wasted on the 
class, notwithstanding their polished periods and 
their oratorical flights, I requested a friend of sound 
judgment to attend several of my lectures, and to 
endeavor to ascertain their defects and the secret 
of my manifest failure. 

After having listened to but a single one, he 
sought me and said: ^' Well, Warren, I have 
heard your lecture, and have come with my report. 
But, first, let me ask if all of them are like the one 
which I listened to on yesterday ?" 

^' Yes," I answered, " I think the one which I 
delivered on yesterday is a fair specimen of the rest, 
only that as 1 progress with the subject I naturally 
become less elementary and more technical." 

" Then," said he, " that being the case, let me 
advise you to make a bonfire of them immediately." 

" Burn my lectures," cried I, ''burn them after 


all the thought and research that I have devoted to 
them? Are the}^, then^ such miserable produc- 
tions — such dead failures ? How am I to get on 
without them?" 

^' Yes, burn them all, and do it to-day," he re- 
plied. ' ' They are creditable productions enough in 
themselves, but they are not suited to those to 
whom they are addressed. They would answer for 
professors, but not for students. You tire above 
the heads of your auditors, and they do not see 
what you are aiming at. Burn them. Trust to 
your knowledge of the subject, to your natural 
oratorical powers, and to the inspiration of an at- 
tracted class, and you will succeed. The students 
say that you are ' a trump at the bedside,' but 'a 
bore in the lecture-room.' So go to work and talk 
in the same natural manner in both places. Instead 
of supposing that you have to address educated 
doctors, select the most ignorant student in the 
class and lecture to him exclusively — suiting your 
ideas and your language to the measure of his ca- 
pacity, and you will please and instruct the rest." 

I spent a sleepless night, thinking continuously 
of this criticism and advice, but without being able 
to summon courage enough to follow my friend's 
suggestions ; and I went to the lecture-room on the 
next day determined to make another brave effort 
in behalf of my bantlings before concluding to 
consign them to the flames, as I thought them 
worthy of a better fate. 

I tried to speak with unusual emphasis ; to make 
up in manner for all other deficiencies, but hard 1 3^ 
had I begun when I felt so hampered by the com- 
ments of my friend, and so confused by the per- 
sistent indifference of the class, that I could scarcely 
read the manuscript before me, and I halted, stam- 
mered, and blushed crimson with each succeeding 

248 A doctor's experiences 

sentence. Finally, meeting with the word ele- 
phantiasis, my tongue failed absolutely to perform 
its functions. Here was a dilemma indeed, and I 
perfectly recognized its significance, realizing that 
I must do something desperate to escape from it or 
retire in disgrace from the lecture-room. Stopping 
for a moment, and taking a drink of water — the 
last resource of oratorical desperation — I seized my 
manuscript, tore it into a hundred pieces, and, 
throwing them from the rostrum, said: '' There go 
my bladders, gentlemen, and I shall swim without 
them or sink in the attempt." The effect was 
magical. The students rose from their seats, and 
gave cheer after cheer in the wildest enthusiasm, 
and when silence was restored I proceeded with my 
lecture, and, without halt or hesitation, talked on 
to the end of the hour. 

From that day I never carried a note into the 
lecture-room, but trusting to a thorough knowledge 
of the subject, to my natural fluency of speech, and 
to the manifest partiality of the class, I lectured 
regularly to crowded benches, and with a success 
which I will leave you to estimate, as I was fre- 
quently honored by your presence in the audience. 

Nor did I forget the advice which had been given 
me in regard to the matter and style of my lec- 
tures, for, selecting a student who seemed most 
signally to illustrate the Darwinian theory of man's 
descent, I addressed myself to him exclusively, and 
in terms which I thought his primal ancestors 
themselves would appreciate, with the result of 
pleasing and instructing the entire class, just as my 
friend had predicted. 

We had a delightful time socially. The best 
people called on us, and invited us to their houses. 
There was no feeling against us as strangers, but 
we were sought after, caressed, flattered, and over- 


whelmed with courtesies of every kind. Baltimore 
seemed, indeed, a veritable Paradise, with every- 
thing to render it attractive, and to fill us with 
thankfulness that our lots had been cast with such 
charming people and in so delightful a place. I 
was at once elected a member of the Maryland 
Club, and made the surgeon of a crack regiment^ 
while my name figured in the lists of every possi- 
ble fashionable enterprise and charitable adventure. 
Private practice came also in a full tide from the 
first, my Hebrew friend of the Sweet Chalybeate 
materially swelling the current by his enthusiastic 
laudation whenever my name was mentioned. In 
a word, heaven seemed to have selected me for the 
fullest measure of its sunshine, and blessed with 
health, means, position, the prospect of greater 
wealth, an adoring wife and a lovely child, I 
fondly dreamed that my cup of bliss was filled to 
repletion, and that there were no dregs at the 
bottom of it. But I was destined to find it the 
merest mockery and the most empty delusion after 

Preoccupied with the duties of my position, and 
having long since ceased to take interest in poli- 
tics, I wa^ insensible to the progress of events un- 
til troops were actually marching through Balti- 
more to engage in the work of subjugating and 
devastating the South. 

I had a particular friend, an Irishman by the 
name of Davis, to whom I had long been de- 
votedly attached. He and his young wife — a charm- 
ing woman, whose life was bound up in her hus- 
band — resided in the same house with us, and were 
our constant companions. 

On the 19th of April, 1861, I accepted an in- 
vitation to accompany him to the Washington 
depot to witness the departure of the 6th Massa- 

250 A doctor's experiences 

cliusetts regiment, as I desired to learn sometTiing 
of the material with which it was proposed to coerce 
the Southern people^ a task that I then deemed im- 
possible. I should explain that io those days troops 
coming from the North and bound to the South 
had to leave the train at the President street depot, 
and to march along Pratt street to the Camden 
street depot, a distance of about one mile and a 
half; and it was to the latter place that we pro- 
posed to go for the gratification of our curiosity. 

Preliminary to starting on this mission, I visited 
a patient in the neighborhood and was unexpect- 
edly detained for half an hour at his residence, 
having to wait for my hat, which some one had 
taken away by mistake. This trivial circumstance 
possibly saved my life. When I returned to keep 
my engagement with Davis, I found that he had 
grown impatient at my delay and had left without 
me, and I went to m}^ office and remained there an 
hour engaged in reading. On going into the street 
again I found the greatest possible excitement and 
commotion prevailing there. People were rushing 
in the wildest confusion toward Pratt street, breaking 
into the gun stores and armories en route, and cry- 
ing ^' Baltimoreans to the rescue ! The war has 
commenced ! The troops have fired upon the citi- 
zens ! Our brothers are being murdered ! Let us 
avenge them !" In a moment every drop of blood 
within me was on fire, and I joined the throng and 
liastened eagerly to the scene of conflict. On 
arriving there I found a large number of police in- 
terposed between a crowd of excited citizens and a 
detachment of demoralized troops which was being 
marched toward the depot under the protection of 
the mayor and the chief of police. I learned that 
a serious engagement had occurred between the 
people and two detachments which had preceded 


this one, in which a number of persons on both 
sides were wounded, and that the police had inter- 
fered and put an end to the disturbance, but with 
the greatest difficulty. I had been on the ground 
but a few moments when I saw a special friend of 
mine gesticulating wildly, and relating something 
which seemed to distress him greatly, and fill those 
about him with almost ungovernable fury. Push- 
ing through the crowd, I at last approached him 
and cried out: ^^In God's name, what is the 
matter.'' "Matter!" he exclaimed_, "Davis is 
dead. He has been shot down like a dog. Come 
and help to avenge his murder." 

" Davis m-urdered !" I cried. " Lead on and I 
wdll follow to the death ; but let us go to the 
Armory and get muskets. We can't fight with our 
naked hands." But, before we could do anything, 
it was announced that the soldiers had been placed 
on the train and sent off to Washington, and thus the 
opportunity to avenge our murdered friend was lost 

I then learned that having reached the depot be- 
fore the arrival of the troops he strolled leisurely 
along the track until he got beyond the limits of 
the city, and, that, when the train passed him, in 
total ignorance of the attack which had been made 
on the soldiers and in the purest badinage, he 
waved his hat in the air and cried: "Hurrah for 
Jeff Davis ! " — when a hundred guns were fired si- 
multaneously from the windows, and he fell with 
a bullet through his heart, the first victim to the 
war between the sections. But for the trivial cir- 
cumstance of having to wait for my hat, I should 
have been with him and at his side to receive, per- 
haps, one of the hundred balls which were sped on 
that mission of vengeance and death. 

I immediately started in search of his remains ; 

252 A doctor's experiences 

made arrangements to have them transferred to his 
residence so soon as the coroner's work was done, 
and then went in advance to break the terrible 
news to his wife. Of that heart-rending interview, 
and of all the sad incidents connected with the ar- 
rival of his body and its subsequent interment, I 
can not trust myself to write, for the recollection 
of them is like a sharp thorn in my heart even at 
this distant day. Thus was sacrificed, wantonly 
and unnecessarily, one of nature's real noblemen — 
one whose bosom glowed with the best traits of the 
race to which he belonged — and to whom the term 
gentleman in its highest and most comprehensive 
significance was as thoroughly applicable as to any 
man I have ever known. He was summoned to his 
last account without a moment's warning ; but for 
every sin registered against him there were a thou- 
sand good deeds recorded as an offset, and I be- 
lieve that the fountain of mercy flowed as freely for 
him as for any shriven soul that ever stood before 
the judgment seat. 




My Dear Doctor : • 

The affair of the 19th of April produced a fear- 
ful commotion in the country, and there were stir- 
ring scenes in Baltimore for some days .afterward. 
Throughout the North there resounded a cry for 
vengeance, and preparations were made to invade 
Maryland and to burn its rebellious city. The 
South received the intelligence with the wildest 
manifestations of delight and promises of prompt 
assistance in case of need. The people of Baltimore 
without distinction of party were a unit in their 
approval of the assault, and mass-meetings were 
held daily in Monument Square to give expression 
to the prevailing sentiment against the passage of 
troops through the city. Of two of these meetings 
I have a specially vivid memory : one of them 
was presided over by Holiday Hicks — then the im- 
cumbent of the gubernatorial chair — who professed 
-a readiness to shed the last drop of his blood to pro- 
tect Baltimore against further invasion, and a 
month afterward became the pliant tool of the 
Federal authorities to this very end ; and the 
other was electrified by a speech from ex-Grovernor 
Lowe, which was one of the most stirring that I 
ever heard. Commencing in this wise : ''Were I 
Governor of Maryland for a single hour to-night, I 
should seize yon time-honored banner, and turning 
my face toward the Pennsylvania line, would call 
upon every loyal son of the South to follow me," 

254 A doctor's exI'eriences 

he poured out for an hour a torrent of such burning- 
words as moved almost to frenzy the excited crowd 
around him. The volunteer companies were called 
to arms ; others were promptly organized ; and 
nothing w^as left undone in the work of preparing 
to repel any invasion that might be attempted. 
On the Sunday succeeding the attack in Pratt 
street intelligence was received of the approach of 
a body of Northern troops, and the greatest excite- 
ment prevailed. The church bells were rung ; the 
u:eneral fire-alarm was sounded ; and the citizen s^ 
turned out en masse with such arms as they could 
commandj and flocking to the City Hall, prepared 
to resist the enemy, a Voutrance. I was made 
surgeon-in-chief of the municipal forces, and au- 
thorized to employ as many assistants as were re- 
quired, and to seize all necessary instruments, ap- 
pliances and stores, and to hold myself ready to 
take charge of the wounded. Indeed, I actually 
received orders to march to the field, and mounted 
on an immense white horse seized for the occasion 
at the nearest livery stable, and with a large corp& 
of surgeons and a caravan of express wagons fol- 
lowing after me, I marched up Baltimore street to 
Green, when I was ordered to return to head- 
quarters, there being really no enemy at Catons- 
ville, as had been reported. I was, nevertheless, 
kept on duty for a number of days, while the whole 
city resounded with martial music and glittered 
with uniforms and bayonets. The authorities at 
Washington having in the mean time become 
alarmed and not wishing to precipitate hostilities 
on that side of the Potomac, came to an understand- 
ing with the mayor that the city should not be 
molested and that the troops ' 'called out for the 
defense of the National capital" — as they put it — 


sTiould be sent to Annapolis and transported thence 
"by rail to the District. 

Taking advantage of the momentary lull and 
anticipating subsequent trouble, I carried my fam- 
ily as far as Norfolk en route to Edenton, and re- 
turned immediately to Baltimore, so as to be ready 
for any emergency. A short time after my return 
I was sent for by Grenerals Stewart and Elzy — then 
in command of the volunteer organizations of the 
city — and. informed that they had men in abun- 
dance, but were sadly in want of arms, and requested 
to bear letters to the governors of Virginia and of 
North Carolina, asking for a contribution from each 
of a thousand muskets. It was a perilous undertak- 
ing, as the route through Washington was closed and 
the Relay House was in the hands of General Butler^ 
who was said to be very strict in his examination 
of persons and of their baggage. I considered it a 
point of honor, however, to accept the mission 
whatever might be the risk attending it, and after 
having seen two of my colleagues and obtained 
their cordial indorsement of the undertaking, I 
started on the next morning, taking with me only a 
hand-satchel with a change of linen, and leaving 
my office and all of my effects in charge of a ser- 
vant. I expected to be absent about two weeks, 
but it was not until after four years of suffering, 
peril and pecuniary ruin that I saw Baltimore 
again — to find my chair occupied by another, my 
colleagues hostile or indifferent, my hosts of ardent 
friends changed into mere acquaintances, and my 
books, instruments, clothing and everything that 
I possessed scattered to the winds. 

When the train on which I was a passenger 
reached the Relay House, I slipped into my pockets 
everything that could make the identification of 
my hand-satchel possible, and then wrapping the 

256 A doctor's experiences 

dangerous letters in an old newspaper, I left it 
open upon the seat which I had occupied and re- 
treated to the platform in the rear. I watched the 
guard as it came stamping and cursing on its mis- 
sion of investigation, intending to jump off and 
disappear in the crowd if they examined the satchel, 
as I should have been shot to a certainty had the 
letters been found and traced to me. Fortunately, 
the ruse succeeded, for, observing that the satchel 
was open and only a roll of old paper was visible, 
they simply scanned it furtively and passed on. I 
then entered the car very boldly and meeting them 
half way answered their questions in regard to my- 
self by saying that I was a doctor returning to his 
home in the South, and concerning my baggage by 
pointing to the satchel which they had passed over. 
This seemed to be satisfactory, as with an oath or 
two — uttered on general principles — they went on 
with their work and left me unmolested. We 
were detained fully three hours, and I began to 
think that we would not be permitted to proceed 
further and that I should fall into " Old Ben's " 
clutches after all. But the whistle finally sounded, 
and my agony of suspense was relieved by the de- 
parture of tiie train. In my whole life I have 
never experienced such intensely anxious moments 
as those which I passed at that depot, with General 
Elzy's compromising letters in my satchel and 
General Butler's brutal guard on the train. For 
weeks afterward visions of a drum-head court 
martial and of a squad of uniformed executioners 
floated though my mind^ and I never retired with- 
out dreaming of a cross-eyed man and a death war- 
rant — such was the impression produced upon my 
brain by what occurred on that memorable day at 
the Kelay House. 

At Point of Rocks I saw General Turner Ashby, 


and having explained my mission and sliown my 
letters, obtained permission from him to cross the 
river and to proceed to Leesburg, Virginia, from 
whence a train ran to Alexandria. I was particu- 
larly struck with Ashby, and was not surprised 
<at the brilliant reputation wdiich he subsequently 
made for himself. Though diminutive in person, 
he possessed that peculiar nervous organization 
which develops force and fortitude out of a seem- 
ingly deficient physical system, and with which 
high courage and great dash are invariably asso- 
ciated. With hair as black as the crow's breast, 
s> flowing beard of the same color, and features 
delicately molded, his face was lighted up by two 
small gray eyes, which seemed to coruscate with 
every passing emotion, and to tell of the pride and 
daring which were the dominating elements of his 
character. He fell early in the war, but not before 
he had associated his name w^ith deeds of heroism 
which have secured for it a commanding position 
in the history of the struggle, and will transmit it 
to posterity as that of one of the bravest of the brave. 
Oeneral Jackson — the immortal "Stonewall" of 
Confederate days — in his report of the engagement 
in which he fell, says of him : " As a partisan of- 
ficer, I never knew his superior. His daring 
bravery was proverbial ; his powers of endurance 
almost incredible ; his tone of character heroic ; 
and his sagacity in discovering the purposes and 
movements of the enemy almost intuitive." For 
such a eulogium from such a source any man 
might be proud to die, and it will stand as a 
monument to his memory while true heroism is 
appreciated among men. 

My traveling companion was Charles Winder, 
of Maryland, who had just resigned a captaincy in 
the United States Army — which had been given to 

258 A doctor's experiexces 

liim for standing by his command on a sinking- 
steamer when every other officer sought safety in a 
passing vessel — and was proceeding southward to 
offer his sword to the Confederacy, 

He afterward distinguished himself on manj 
bloody fields and was created a brigadier-general 
at an early period of the war for ' ' conspicuous 
gallantry in the face of the enemy." I never met 
with a more modest and charming man, or one 
who bore more decidedly the stamp of high breed- 
ing, purity of character, and chivalrous courage. 
Though we met as strangers, we parted as friends, 
and I paid him the tribute of many a sympathetic- 
tear when I heard that he had fallen at Cedar Pun 
in the summer of '62, "manifesting the same 
spirit as on the wreck, that which holds life light 
when weighed against honor," as Mr. Davies tes- 
tifies. He was a near relative of Gen. John H. 
Winder, to whose lot it fell to have charge of the 
Federal prisoners during the war and to be exposed 
to such a storm of abuse afterward. Though au- 
stere in manner and somewhat of a martinet in 
disposition, I believediim to have been a man of 
kind heart and scrupulous integrity, and I am con- 
vinced that so far from having deliberately con- 
tributed to the sufferings of those under his charge 
he did all in his power to ameliorate their condi- 
tion. Mr. Davis, as you tnow, bears emphatic 
testimony in his favor, declaring that '^he was a 
man too brave to be cruel to anything within his 
power, and too w^ ell-bred and well-born to be in- 
fluenced by sordid motives," while Adjutant-Gen- 
eral Cooper, an officer of acknowledged character 
and reliability, writes that "he was an honest, up- 
right, and humane gentleman." I do not propose 
to go into the question of the treatment of prison- 
ers during the war, and J will dismiss the subject 


with the following observations : Prisoners of war, 
as a rule, complain of the treatment which they 
have received. The Confederate soldiers who were 
confined in Northern prisons told similar stories of 
hardship and atrocities ; the South was completely 
drained of its resources, and was too poor to supply 
its own soldiers with common necessaries, instru- 
ments and medicines, while hospital stores were 
early made contraband of war ; the policy of a non- 
exchange of prisoners did not originate with the 
South, and was in direct conflict with its interests, 
and, lastly, the attributes of real bravery and of 
positive cruelty are incompatible in themselves, and 
the South points to its record on the battle-field as 
an answer to the charge of intentional unkindness 
to those whom the chances of war placed in its 

In the various positions which I had the honor 
to occupy during the war, I was brought much in 
contact with prisoners, and especially with those 
who had been wounded, and I can say with my 
hand upon my heart that I invariably treated them 
with the greatest kindness. Of suffering men I 
never asked to which side they belonged or cared 
for the color of the uniform they wore, but I minis- 
tered to all as if they were my friends and brethren. 
Had I acted differently I should have failed to inter- 
pret the feelings and wishes of the two great men 
under whom it was my privilege to serve^ Robert E. 
Lee and Zebulon B. Yance, the finest types of 
Christian gentlemen I have ever known. 

I saw nothing of the ''guns commanding the 
Potomac," of which I had heard so much in Balti- 
more, but I found Alexandria in a state of demorali- 
zation, as it had been abandoned by the Southern 
forces in view. of an expected advance from Wash- 

2B0 A doctor's experiences 

ington, which actually took place a few days after- 
ward . 

I reached Richmond without mishap, and put up 
at the Exchange Hotel, which was then the head- 
quarters of the coming Confederate army. I say 
the ** coming" army, for though the greatest ex- 
citement prevailed, and every one talked of dying 
for his country, there was nothing approaching to 
a regular organization in existence. In truth, it 
is almost impossible to describe the condition of 
things in Richmond at that time. All business 
seemed suspended ; flags bearing strange devices 
floated from every house-top ; tlie air w^as filled 
with tbe strains of martial music ; crowds of citi- 
zens with palmetto twigs or blue cockades in their 
hats, and armed with rifles or shot-guns or rusty 
swords, paraded the streets by night and day ; regi- 
ments of soldiers were constantly arriving, clad in 
fantastic uniforms, bearing banners adorned with 
pictures of the rattle-snake, wearing caps upon 
wdiich the words ^ liberty or death" w^ere printed, 
and with huge bowie knives slung at their sides ; 
the bar-rooms were filled with tipsy patriots boast- 
ing of the 'Spiles of Yankees" they were to kill 
daily ^'before breakfast," and of the revels they 
were soon to hold in Faneuil Hall ; the wildest 
rumors of the most improbable things startled or 
delighted the populace at every moment, and a 
species of insanity — military and political — seemed 
to possess the popular mind, and to illustrate itself 
in the most fantastic performances and exaggerated 

Virginia had not formally seceded from the 
Union, but she had practically sided with her 
Southern sisters, and her capital had become the 
focus of the intense excitement which prevailed 
throughout the South and the rallying point for 


tlie fierce volunteers who believed that their mis- 
sion was to ^^ take Washington" forthwith and to 
"annihilate the North" in a single campaign. 

All of this exaggeration of sentiment — this su- 
perfluity of "froth and foam" — really surprised 
and alarmed me, for I fully appreciated the power 
and the earnestness of the great people against 
whom the South was arrayed, and I feared that 
the wild demonstrations which I witnessed daily 
indicated an entire absence of that appreciation 
upon the part of those whose lives and liberties 
were involved in the approaching struggle. Filled 
with these misgivings I sought my relative, Mr, 
James A. Seddon — who subsequently became the 
Confederate war minister, and who was a clear- 
headed man as well as an "original secessionist'* 
— and expressed my apprehensions to him. He 
reassured me somewhat by answering in this wise: 
"All great wars have been ushered in by just such 
exhibitions. Human nature is often fantastic 
when it is most in earnest. It is true that South- 
ern blood is naturally warm and Southern brains 
impressionable, bnt if you were in Boston to-day 
you would see similar demonstrations. You would 
see people 'taking the oath' after every meal^ 
hurrahing over ' the old flag ' at all the street 
corners, singing themselves hoarse with 'the Star- 
Spangled Banner,' partitioning off 'Southern plan- 
tations' as if they already owned them, and en- 
gaged, in fact, in an infinitude of senseless antics 
and ludicrous performances. Both sides have gone 
crazy with excitement and passion, bpt they are 
not the less serious for all that. Remember that 
Niagara is white with 'foam and froth' just 
where the whgle river, in a raging and resistless 
flood, sweeps over the great boulders and through 
the mighty caverns which encumber its channel. 

262 A doctor's experiences 

Our people are in earnest — in terrible earaest — I 
assure you. They 'mean fight,' and to the bit- 
ter end — nothing less. While I am not one of 
those who underrate the courage and the resources 
of our adversaries. I see nothing in the situation to 
alarm and discourage me, and you must not per- 
mit yourself to doubt the issue. We may not 
''take Washington' or 'burn Boston,' but we shall 
maintain our rights and conquer our independence, 
so sure as there is a God in heav^en." 

To this I answered: " I hope sincerely you are 
right, but you may depend upon it the excitement 
which now fills to overflowing the popular mind 
and prompts to such exaggeration of senti- 
ment and excess of confidence will be sorely tried 
before we reach the end of this matter. For my 
own part, I wish the doctrine of secession had 
never been heard of, and that our country could 
have remained as ,our fathers left it, prosperous, 
happy and united. But, as the issue has been 
made between the two sections — thank God, by no 
agency of mine — every sentiment of my nature and 
aspiration of my soul is with the land of my birth 
and the people with whom I have been reared, and 
I would have nothing done or left undone which 
could by any possibility rob us of the victory." 

On the succeeding day I saw Governor Letcher, 
and presented my letter asking for arms. I can- 
not say that he treated me rudely, but he declared 
peremptorily that he had no muskets to spare, as 
he needed all in the State for his own people. At 
the same time lie launched out into a harangue, 
the gist of which ^was that everything depended on 
Virginia, upon whose action ''the eyes of the 
world were turned ' ' and the fate of the Confeder- 
acy centered. I came to the conclusion that he 
might be a true Virginian, but that he was not 


the man for me to waste time and breath upon ; 
and I bade adieu to his excellency as precipitately 
as the rules of courtesy would allow. 

He was a tall, gaunt man, with a rubicund face, 
and a hickory-nut looking head , upon which scarcely 
-a strand of hair was discoverable. His prompt re- 
fusal of the President's requisition for troops with 
which to coerce the seceding States, and the in- 
fluence which he exerted with the convention in 
behalf of the ordinance of secession, made him popu- 
lar with his own people, who still greatly revere 
his memory. 

My visit to Ealeigh was much more agreeable in 
itself and fortunate in its results. Governor Ellis 
received me with cordiality, and promptly granted 
the request which I bore to him. In a word, he 
acted like a gentleman and a patriot — showing not 
less devotion to his own people than sympathy 
with those for whom I pleaded. He had married 
Miss Mary Daves, of New Berne, an old friend of 
mine and one of the loveliest women in the State, 
and I have always believed that her kind interces- 
sion had something to do with the Grovernor's 
prompt response in the matter of the muskets. 
Five hundred rifles were packed to be sent to Kich- 
mond, but the complexion of things having materi- 
ally changed in the mean time, the arms were turned 
over to Mrs. Bradley Johnson for the use of the 
first Maryland regiment which organized under the 
Confederate flag. I lingered a few days in Ealeigh , 
listening to the debates in the convention on the 
occasion of the passage of the ordinance of secession, 
and discussing with old friends the topic of the 
coming war, and I then paid a hurried visit to my 
friends and family at Edenton. 

On my return to Richmond, en route to Baltimore, 
I met a large number of 'those whom I had left 

264 A doctor's experiences 

there under arms, and learned from them the sad 
story of the possession of that city by Butler and 
his troops, the treason of many who had pretended 
to an ardent sympathy with the Southern cause, 
the imprisonment of the secession members of the 
Legislature, and the closure of all the ordinary 
routes of travel leading to the city. Although it 
was my purpose to link my fortunes with those of 
the South eventually, I desired to return to Balti- 
more in order to make arrangements for a final 
departure — which you can well understand, from 
the fact that I had left my office open with every- 
thing I possessed exposed, and that the time was- 
approaching for my tour of duty in the infirmary 
of the University of Maryland. 

While preparing to reach Baltimore by what wa& 
familiarly styled the underground route — by run- 
ning the blockade of the Potomac, and then clan- 
destinely traveling through the country — I was 
astonished by the arrival of letters from the authori- 
ties of the college, which stated that they had made 
arrangements with the Federal commander to re- 
ceive into their hospital the sick and wounded of 
his army. In other words, that our infirmary had 
been transformed into a United States hospital,. 
and that its medical and surgical attendants had 
become ipso facto the paid agents of the Federal 
Government. It was also insisted that I should 
return, in order to assist^in carrying out the terms 
of that contract. 

I immediately answered to the effect that I re- 
garded the contract, with the service it entailed, as 
not less insulting to me than ruinous to the school ; 
that they had neither the legal nor the moral right 
to use property in which I had chartered rights for 
such a purpose without my previous knowledge and 
consent ; that although as a matter of pure 



humanity I was willing to give my professional 
services to sick and wounded men without consider- 
ing their antecedents or connections, I could not do so ' 
as a matter of business and for a pecuniary consider- 
ation withonthecommg particeps criminis with those 
whose mission w^as to murder and to rob my own 
people ; that in view of the facts of the case I per- 
emptorily refused to assist in carrying out their 
contract with the Federal authorities, and that 
when I did return — as I hoped to do in time to re- 
sume my regular course of lectures, and with a 
victorious army — I should leave the question at 
issue to the arbitrament of the Southern men who 
accompanied me to Baltimore, as they could best 
appreciate my feelings and take in the whole situa- 

A few days afterward I received another letter, 
in which I was threatened with expulsion if I did 
not resume my duties in the institution by the 10th 
day of May — a date which had already passed when 
the communication reached me. 

Notwithstanding this threat, no action was taken 
against me until after the battle of Gettysburg, 
when it was made evident that I would never ^'re- 
turn with a victorious army" — the fate of the Con- 
federacy having been sealed upon that fatal field. 

An application was then made to the board of 
visitors_, which body alone had the right to declare 
a chair vacant, to displace me upon the ground of 
my prolonged absence, or, in other words, connec- 
tion with the Confederate army. But though com- 
posed mainly of Union men, the board declined to 
take action in the case, when my colleagues, 
without the shadow of legal authority or the form 
ot an impeachment, formally deposed me, and pro- 
ceeded to the election of my successor. Such was 
my punishment for having repudiated this obnox- 

266 A doctok's experiences 

ious contract with the Federal authorities, and for 
having served a cause for which they professed the 
deepest sympathy. 

This question having thus heen disposed of I 
hastened to Raleigh and offered my services to my 
native State, feeling that though I had sacrificed 
my property and my position, I had preserved my 
honor and had vindicated my independence of char- 
acter in the course pursued. 

The secretary of state, Mr. Warren Winslow^ 
was de facto the executive of North Carolina, as 
the failing health of the governor prevented him 
from giving attention to public affairs, and he 
proved himself a most intelligent and efficient offi- 
cer. Among the plans which he elaborated for the 
public defense was one for the organization of a 
small navy in the sounds along the coast, which 
was accomplished b}' equipping a number of steam- 
boats and sailing vessels, and placing them under 
the command of the officers who had resigned from 
the United States Navy. Of this organization I 
was made surgeon-in-chief, with orders to report to 
Captain Murphy, at Portsmouth, North Carolina, 
where a naval station had been established. 

After four months of uneventful service on the 
coast, and just in time to escape capture at Hatteras, 
I left for Richmond in order to obtain a position 
in the Confederate army, as I was weary of inac- 
tion and desired some real surgical work. Indeed, 
my occupation was gone, as the "North Carolina 
navy" had been turned over to the Confederacy. 

Speaking of Hatteras reminds me of my expe- 
rience there and of the mementoes of it which I 
brought awa}^ with me. Just at the point where 
the ocean and the sound approach nearest to each 
other and a shallow inlet then existed, two forts 
had been built and a battalion was stationed. The 


human mind can scarcely conceive of the loneli- 
ness and desolation of the place. Imagine^ if you 
can, a narrow strip of land interposed between two 
great wastes of water — one-half consisting of a 
hog with a few stunted trees and shrubs scattered 
over its surface and peopled with innumerable frogs 
and snakes, and the remainder composed of sand 
so impalpable as to be lifted in clouds of dust by 
every passing breeze, and you will have some idea 
of the topography of that God-forgotten locality. 
I went there on a tour of inspection, which I made 
as brief as possible, I assure you, for in addition to 
the desolation to which I have referred the mos- 
quitoes held possession of it by day and night, 
blackening the air by their presence, and making 
it vocal with their eternal hum. A sable cloud 
composed of myriads of these insects, and visible 
for a considerable distance, hovered over the head 
of every living thing that stood or walked upon 
that dreary shore^ and while one laborer worked 
upon the fortifications another had to stand by him 
"svith a handful of brush to keep him from being 
devoured by them. The poor mules looked as if 
they had been drawn through key-holes and then 
attacked with eruptions of small-pox. Sleep could 
only be had by stuffing one's ears with cotton 
ancl enveloping the entire body in blankets, and 
even then it was 'difficult to escape the search of 
these voracious and insatiable blood-suckers. Luck- 
ily the surgeon in charge had been given a bunk 
on a little steamer moored some distance from the 
shore, while he had provided himself with a double 
netting, and though |le shared both bunk and net- 
ting with me I found on the succeeding morning 
that my face and hands were covered with an erup- 
tion which resembled that of a full blown varicella. 
Such were the mementoes which I carried from 
Hatteras and retain still in my memory. 

268 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor: 

I found things greatly changed in Richmond. 
It had become the seat of' the Confederate govern- 
mentj and the confusion and extravagance of other 
days had given place to order and calmness. The 
soldiers in transitu seemed more determined and 
less demonstrative than their predecessors ; fewer 
people were in the streets and more in the service ; 
the bar-rooms were comparatively deserted, and 
every one looked the embodiment of sobriet}^ ; and 
in a word, the influence of military discipline and 
the effect of the actual shock of battle could be 
seen upon all classes and in every direction. The 
battle of Manassas had just been won, and, though 
it evoked a feeling of profound satisfaction among 
all classes, it rather quelled than stimulated that 
spirit of intense self-confidence and supreme con- 
tempt for the foe from which I had augured so un- 
favorably on my first visit. 

It was felt that Southern valor had triumphed 
over immense odds, but, in the presence of the 
long list of the dead and wounded which the rec- 
ord of the fight revealed, there came the realiza- 
tion that the '^ march to Boston," which an ex- 
cited people had so wildly raved about, was no 
holiday excursion or' boyish pastime. It is true 
that the demand for a forward movement — for 
taking advantage of the victory and pressing 


on to the National capital — was universal, but it 
was felt that the army had serious work before it, 
and that the people of the North were booked for a 
long and a desperate fight. 

It delighted me to find that this awakening to 
reason — this realization of the situation — had come 
already, for, to my mind, it was the death of an 
infatuation which invited and entailed disaster, 
and the birth of a sentiment which was the earnest 
and the assurance of ultimate victory. 

The hospitals were filled with the sick and 
Avounded, and it cheered my heart to find that all 
deficiencies as regards means and materials for 
their treatment were compensated for by the ten- 
der care with which the ladies of the city watched 
and nursed tliem. It seems to me that those were 
most fortunate who did not survive that memora- 
ble epoch in the history of the war, for they went 
to their final rest ministered to by loving hands, 
believing that they were heroes and martyrs, and 
in the full assurance that the ^^ bonny blue flag" 
was destined to wave victoriously over a happy and 
independent people. 

I was presented to the President by the Hon. 
Robert H. Smith, of Alabama — my father's former 
pupil, and at that time a member of the Confeder- 
ate Congress — who immediately had me commis- 
sioned a surgeon in the army ; and on the suc- 
ceeding day I was ordered by the surgeon-general 
to report for duty at the University of Virginia. 

I had heard much complaint against the gov- 
ernment for its failure to order a forward move- 
ment immediately after the victory at Manassas, 
and it was not until I reached Charlottesville and 
ascertained the actual condition of the army that I 
learned to appreciate the true reason of its appar- 
ent supineness. 

270 A doctor's experiences 

The army was. literallyj in a state of disorgan- 
ization, in consequence of the immense number of 
its sick and wounded and because of the impotency 
of its medical organization. 

Although more than two weeks had elapsed 
since the battle, large numbers of disabled soldiers 
were still being sent from the field or its vicinity, 
most of whom had received only the scantiest at- 
tention, while many of their comrades in the hos- 
pitals were actually in a dying state from the want 
of operations which should have been performed 

In the town of Charlottesville alone — scattered 
through hotels, private houses, public halls, and 
wherever a blanket could be spread — there were 
more than twelve hundred cases of typho-malarial 
fever. In fact, from what I could gather, the 
whole country, from Manassas Junction to Rich- 
mond in one direction, and to Lynchburg in an- 
other, was one vast hospital, filled to repletion with 
the sick and wounded of Beauregard's victorioufj 
army. The unusual percentage of wounded was 
due to the circumstance that the battle had been 
fought in the open field and decided by a succes- 
sion of brilliant charges against an enemy which 
fought with desperate courage and tenacity. 

The great amount of sickness was attributable to 
the fact that the force engaged was almost exclu- 
sively composed of delicately-reared young men, 
who were incapable of sustaining the hardships 
incident to camp life, supplemented by the entire 
absence of such a23pliances as are essential to the 
comfort of soldiers in the field, and by an utter 
neglect of the laws of sanitation and hygiene. 
While 23ossessed by the excitement incident to 
their new carters, they forgot their corporeal exist- 
ence, and gave no heed to its demands or neces- 


sities, but reaction came with victory, and they 
succumbed to its debilitating influences. It re- 
sulted, therefore, that for many weeks regiments 
which had contained their full complement of seem- 
ingly vigorous men, were so disintegrated and dis- 
organized as to render it impossible for the army 
to reap the fruits of a victory which its valor had 
so fairly won. 

In S23eaking of the inefficiency of the medical 
department of that period, I do not mean to cast 
the slightest reflection upon the individuals who 
composed it ; for more competent, devoted and pa- 
triotic men never honored any service. I only mean 
to imply that they were small in number, deficient 
in organization, and unsupplied with such mater- 
ials as the exigencies of the situation demanded. 
Besides, there were questions of rank, precedent, 
scope of duty and obligations, relations between 
State and Confederate authority, and a thousand 
important problems, of which no solution had then 
been attempted, and without a settlement of which 
there necessarily resulted both embarrassment and 
inefficiency. Having been hastily improvised as a 
corps, and being left to crystallize of itself without 
the adventitious assistance of fixed methods and 
definite regulations, it was immediately called 
upon to face a responsibility unprecedented in the 
magnitude of its proportions and the infinitude of 
its requirements ; and it is not to be wondered at 
that the medical staff of the army found itself con- 
fused, embarrassed and paralyzed on that occasion. 

How the questions to which I have referred were 
eventually settled, and what noble work for science, 
humanity and ''the cause" was accomplished in 
the end under the influence of the master spirits 
who controlled it — under the tutelage of Moore, 
Guild, Ford, McGuire, Coleman, Hammond, Sor- 

272 A doctor's experiences 

rell, Gaillard, Smith, Owens, Haywood, Campbell, 
Chopin, Logan and other siirgeous of like genius 
and equal patriotism — I wdll leave to the coming 
historian of the great struggle to chronicle, con- 
tenting myself with the assertion that, when the 
story shall be faithfully written, one of its proudest 
pages will be reserved for the services, the sacrifices 
and the triumphs of the medical staff of the Con- 
federate Army. 

I had a surfeit of surgical experience in my new 
field of labor, for I found myself in the presence of 
wounds of every description and of all degrees of 
gravity. I performed, consequently, a great num- 
ber of operations and treated an endless variety of 
complications — the development of which you can 
well understand in view of the circumstances 
which I have already explained. 

I recently received, through the American 
Minister residing in Paris, the last volume of the 
Surgical History of the Rebellion (sic,) which the 
authorities at Washington have prepared and pub- 
lished, and, in looking over it, I find an account 
of one of my own operations, which I will reproduce 
in these pages, as it is interesting in itself and 
because of its associations : 

^' Private T. H. Wolf, company D, 4th Virginia, 
had his femur shattered in the battle of Bull Run 
by a musket ball which traversed the upper part of 
the thigh in anantero-posterio direction, and strik- 
ing the femur four indie's below the trochanters, 
shattered it quite to the neck. The patient was re- 
moved to Charlottesville University of Virginia, 
and was received in the general hospital at that 
place on July 24th. The fracture was treated by 
Smith's anterior suspensory splint, and this mode 
of dressing proved very serviceable for a time. 
The inflammatory phenomena did not abate, how- 


€ver, and after four weeks it was decided that the 
removal of the limb at the coxo-femoral articulation 
alone afforded a hope of saving the patient's life. 
On August 21st the operation was performed by 
Brigadier-General Edward Warren, Surgeon-Gen- 
eral of North Carolina, and was rapidly executed 
by the double-flap method, with inconsiderable 
hemorrhage. On the following day there was 
^slight hemorrhage. Death from exhaustion ensued 
on August 23, 1861, thirty hours after the opera- 
tion. The constitutional condition of the patient 
was unfavorable, and he was suffering from col- 
liquative diarrhoea." 

How the narration of this case recalls the inci- 
dents of those memorable days! I can see before 
me the great rotunda filled with hastily-con- 
structed beds, bearing the forms of brave boys who 
had fought and suffered for their country's sake; 
the weeping women keeping vigils over their own 
loved ones or ministering to "somebody's darling" 
dying far away from the friends who loved him ; 
the surgeons and their assistants moving through 
the wards, now uttering a word of cheer, or pre- 
paring for an operation, or shaking their heads 
omniously as the cases before them suggested ; 
and the faithful negro attendants bearing carefully 
and sorrowfully away all that remained of the 
martyrs who had so recently left their homes, 
filled with martial ardor, and dreaming of the hour 
when they would return, crowned with ;the wreaths 
of victory. And I recall with especial distinctness 
poor Wolf, to whose case the reference has been 
made, and whose name is thus destined to be linked 
with my own while the surgical history of the war 
shall remain. He was acountry boy, who at the first 
tap of the drum had left the j)lough in the furrow 
18 ' 

274 A doctor's experiences 

and hurried to the front — to receive his death-wound 
in the first battle of the war. 

At first his vigorous constitution, sustained by a 
brave and self-reliant spirit, seemed equal to the 
demand made upon its vitality by the profuse sup- 
puration which ensued. But gradually symptoms 
of septic poisoning appeared, and in the hectic 
iiush^ the yellow conjunctiva, the rapid emaciation, 
the vicissitudes of temperature, and the colliqua- 
tive diarrhoea which presented themselves, I recog- 
nized a crisis which presented the alternatives of 
certain death without surgical interference, and the 
barest possibility of saving his life by the removal 
of his limb at the hip joint. A consultation was 
held, and it was unanimously determined that these 
fearful alternatives should be frankly presented to 
the patient in order that he might decide between 
them. Few tasks have fallen to me more painful 
than that which constrained me to inform this 
vouns: man of how near he was to death, and of 
what little hope remained of rescuing him, even by 
invoking all the resources of surgery. He received 
the announcement like a hero. A few tears trickled 
down his wasted cheeks, and, taking my hand 
tenderly in his, he said : "I am not afraid to die. 
doctor, but amputate for my mother's sake^ for she 
would like to see her boy again." I felt that I 
would give my right arm to save him, and I re- 
solved that nothing should be wanting to make the 
operation itself a success. I removed the limb in 
three minutes, and first compressed and then li- 
gated the vessels so effectually as to lose only a 
teacup of blood, and for thirty hours I remained at 
his side watching' ever}' symptom, and endeavoring 
to meet it. For the first fifteen hours everything 
w^ent well, and my heart began to thrill with hope 
and exultation. Suddenly a slight capillary hem- 


orrhage occurred, and although it was immediately 
arrested by the application of cold compresses, a 
condition of depression resulted which gradually 
deepened into a collapse, and the poor fellow 
breathed his last a few hours afterward. Had I 
known then as much as I do now of the value of 
the transfusion of blood, I should have resorted to 
it as affording another chance at least to the poor 
fellow in his dire extremity, for I have since wit- 
nessed wonderful results from it in the most des- 
perate circumstances. As I write these lines Paris 
is threatened with an invasion of cholera, and 
should it arrive I am resolved to treat such cases as 
may fall into my hands by introducing morphia 
and sulphuric ether hypodermically, administering 
oxygen gas by inhalation, and transfusing the 
blood of some healthy individual. 

Of course I had no reason to be surprised at the 
fatal conclusion of this hip-joint operation. Under 
the most favorable circumstances the mortality from 
it is very great. All of the operations of this char- 
acter performed by the English surgeons in the 
Crimea terminated fatally, while of the one hun- 
dred and eighty-three cases collected by Otis from 
the statistics furnished by all countries, one hundred 
and sixty-seven died and only sixteen recovered, 
giving a ratio of mortality of 91.2 per cent. 

The conduct of the wounded excited my most 
profound admiration. A sentiment of genuine 
heroism pervaded those southern boys which was 
simply sublime. Each regarded liimself as a mar- 
tyr to a holy cause, and seemed proud of the blood 
which he had shed for it and even of the death 
which he was called upon to die in its behalf. Un- 
der the spell of this patriotic enthusiasm there was 
no murmuring because of the want of comforts and 
conveniences, or over the fate which condemned 

276 A doctor's experiences 

them to suffering and to mutilation, or at the de- 
cree which banished them forever from home and 
friends and comrades, but with brave hearts and 
smiling countenances they met their doom, sus- 
tained by the reflection that they had done their 
duty like men and soldiers — that they had fought 
■and bled for the land which they loved. 

I was likewise delighted with the manner in 
which the professors demeaned themselves. Some 
of them had entered the army at the first call for 
volunteers, and were " at the front" when the ava- 
lanche of wounded and dying men overwhelmed 
the University, but those who remained behind 
acted w^ell their part in this trying emergency. 
Their devotion to the suffering soldiers, their cour- 
tesy to the medical officers on duty and their sym- 
pathy for those who came in search of their stricken 
relatives well illustrated the virtues which have 
so long distinguished the Virginia people, and es- 
tablished for themselves proud reputations as pa- 
triots and humanitarians. They welcomed every 
Confederate soldier as a friend, and nursed him 
with absolute fidelity and tenderness, while their 
private houses were thrown open and a hospitality 
was dispensed from them which knew neither limit 
nor discrimination. Having known me in my 
student days their reception was most cordial, and 
the recollection of it has always been a green spot 
in my memory. I particularly recall the courtesy 
extended to me by Professors Davis, Minor and 
Scheie de Vere, and while leaving the record of 
my gratitude to them I can but express a regret 
that the opportunity has never occurred for a prac- 
tical manifestation of my appreciation of their 

Among the University soldiers two especially 
distinguished themselves. I refer to Professor 


Charles Venable and to Professor Lewis M. Cole- 
man — tlie former a colonel on General Lee's staff, 
and the latter the lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Vir- 
ginia regiment of artillery. No man in the Army 
of Northern Virginia saw more of active service 
or commanded a larger share of the confidence 
of its great leader than Colonel Venable, and he 
still lives, an ornament to his alma mater, an honor 
to the land of his nativity, and one of the brightest 
lights in the world of science. Unfortunately 
Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman sealed his devotion to 
the cause in his life's blood, but not until he had 
exhibited qualities as a soldier not less conspicu- 
ous than those which in private life rendered him 
a model as a teacher and a paragon as a gentle- 

Colonel Venable was one of my classmates, and 
after a friendship of more than thirty years' dura- 
tion I can but bear emphatic testimony to the gen- 
iality of his disposition, the loyalty of his charac- 
ter, and the depth and grasp of his intellect. One 
of the most pleasant incidents of my life abroad 
has been a visit which he recently made to Paris. 
How " the old time came over me" when I saw 
again his smiling face and heard his merry laugh 
and listened to the stories of college days, and of 
the good fellows we had known and loved when we 
w^ere boys together. What a flood of memories 
his very name unsealed, recollections of the dreams 
of youth, of the struggles of manhood, of the in- 
cidents of the times which tried men's souls, and 
of the faces and forms of those who were once so 
full of hope and promise, but who have been sleep- 
ing many a long year beneath the sod ! To meet 
him thus in this land of strangers after so many 
years of separation was a source of irifinite pleas- 
ure — it was like the continuation of some interest- 

278 A doctor's experiences 

ing story, tlie reading of which had been broken off 
in the " lang syne.'" 

I was not so intimately acquainted with Colonel 
Coleman, but I knew him well enough to appreciate 
his character and to mourn his loss. 

With his brother, Dr. Eobert Coleman, I was on 
intimate terms for man}^ years — from our first 
meeting at the University in 1850 to his death in 
February last, and I am sure you will excuse me 
for paying a passing tribute to his memory. 

The two brothers, Lewis and Robert Coleman, 
were of a type which is especially Virginian, and 
they resembled each other wonderfully in mind, 
character and person. As I knew Robert he was 
above the medium height, but so redundant of adi- 
pose as to appear below it. His head was large, 
symmetrical, and covered with curling flaxen hair; 
his face was like the moon at full term, and was 
illuminated by the brightest of blue eyes and the 
sunniest of smiles, and his voice was at once deep, 
sonorous and peculiarly sympathetic. His flow of 
spirits was spontaneous and irresistible ; his wit 
was as bright as a blade of Damascus and as trench- 
ant ; his intellect was equally logical and rhetori- 
cal ; his thoughts instinctively weaving themselves 
into a chain of iron which seemed only a wreath 
of flowers, and his bosom was a nursery in which 
all kindly sentiments and generous impulses and 
exalted virtues grew in the richest luxuriance. I 
never knew him to have an enemy, for calumny 
seemed to recognize him as a mark too exalted for 
its shafts, while malignity transformed itself into 
admiration under the spell of his frank and chival- 
rous spirit. Alike in public positions and in pri- 
vate relations, the inherent loyalty of his nature 
loomed up so conspicuously — made itself so felt 
and appreciated — that ever}" man who was brought 


into contact with him esteemed it an honor to be 
called his friend and a badge of respectability to 
possess his confidence. 

Such was Robert Coleman, and so he will be re- 
membered — an honor to the State which he loved 
to idolatry, to the profession whose noblest attri- 
butes he illustrated, and to that Christianity which 
he gloried in professing. He acted well his part 
on earth and he has gone to receive his reward in 

Among my professional colleagues was a gentle- 
man who bore an honored name, and upon whom 
nature had also impressed the stamp of her true 
nobility. I refer to Dr. Orlando Fairfax, who 
had left his extensive practice and his comfort- 
able home in Alexandria to devote himself to the 
cause of the Confederacy. His father was right- 
fully Lord Fairfax, but, being an American citi- 
zen, he followed the tradition of his family and 
never claimed the title, though it is still recognized 
in the Peerage of England. It is said that "blood 
will tell,'' and it never expressed itself more dis- 
tinctly than in the courtly bearing, the noble sim- 
plicity and the fidelity to the requirements of duty 
which distinguished Dr. Fairfax, I regret to 
record that he was called upon to bear a great af- 
fliction during the war in the loss of his son Ran- 
dolph, a most promising young man, who served 
with conspicuous gallantry as a private, and was 
killed by a fragment of the same shell which gave 
Colonel Coleman his death wound. 

I met also for the first time thsit rara-avis in the 
field of Southern medicine, a female physician, in 
the person of Miss Moon, a native of Albemarle 
County, Virginia, and a graduate of the Woman's 
Medical dollege of Philadelphia. She was a lady 
of high character and of fine intelligence, and, 

280 A doctor's experiences 

tliongh she failed to distinguish herself as a phy- 
sician, she made an excellent nurse, and did good 
service in the wards of the hospital. Unfortun- 
ately for her professional prospects she fell in love 
with one of our assistant surgeons, and compro- 
mised matters by marrying him and devoting her- 
self to the care of her own babies — like a sensible 
woman. Imagine, if you can, the position of this 
young lady, with much of native modesty and re- 
finement in her composition, in a hospital of 
wounded soldiers, and with only medical officers 
as her companions, and you will have eliminated 
a most potent argument against the inappropriate- 
ness of a woman becoming a doctor. In my hum- 
ble judgment, no one possessing a womb or en- 
dowed with the attributes of femininity ought to 
dream of entering the ranks of the medical profes- 
sion, and Dr. Moon's experience at Charlottesville 
teaches a lesson in this regard which her aspiring 
sisters would do well to heed and appreciate. 

The possibility of matrimony and the probabil- 
ity of maternity — the ends for which women were 
created — raise a barrier in the pathway of those 
who would thus enter upon the domain of medicine,, 
which they should regard as nature's protest against 
their intrusion. In a word, women were made not 
to administer drugs nor to amputate limbs nor ta 
engage in the arduous and exciting incidents of a 
doctor's career, but to fill the sacred role of sister, 
wife and mother — to render homes happy, and to 
sustain, cheer and comfort men in the struggle of 

I also had the pleasure of renewing my acquaint- 
ance with Mr. William Wirtenbaker, who for 
more than thirty years was the college librarian 
and the secretary of the faculty. He was a char- 
acter sui generis, and yet as good and lo^-al a man 


as ever lived. He loved the books under his charge 
as if they were his children, and he watched over 
them as tenderly. He could give the historj^ of all 
who had attended the various schools, and could 
recite incidents of their college lives which even 
they had forgotten. He remembered the name and 
the physiognomy of every matriculant, and he 
could recognize and locate him without re- 
gard to the date of his matriculation. He had 
signed the diplomas of a large majority of the 
graduates, and he watched the careers of '^ his 
boys" with intense solicitude, rejoicing in their 
triumphs or grieving at their misfortunes, as if 
they were his own. Loais XIV gave expression to 
his royal egotism in the memorable words " I'etat 
c'est moi,'' and the old librarian, in the intensity 
of his devotion to the institution and the innocent 
vanity of his guileless nature, believed that he and 
the University were one, and he habitually spoke 
and acted as if the identification was complete. 
He certainly loved it more than himself, and would 
willingly have sacrificed his life to advance its in- 
terests. In this sense, and notwithstanding hisloy- 
alty to his section, it nearly broke his heart to see 
its sacred halls conyerted into hospitals, and filled 
with regiments of wounded soldiers rather than 
with throngs of enthusiastic students. He re- 
solved consequently that one department at least 
should maintain its integrity despite of war's 
alarms and obligations, and, true to the habits of a 
life-time, he daily walked with stately tread to the 
library and went on duty there as if the school were 
in full blast and nothing had occurred to interrupt 
the current of its curriculum. 

His sons graduated with distinction in the Uni- 
versity and fought gallantly in their country's 
cause. One fills a soldier's grave in the college 
cemetery, another achieved a reputation during th 

282 A doctor's experiences 

war which has since made him a leading man in 
Virginia, and all have done honor to the good old 
man from whom they inherited that strict con- 
scientiousness and devotion to duty which were the 
predominating traits of his character. 

He lived to be an octogenarian, and died only 
recently, universally honored and lamented. 

So soon as I reached Charlottesville I sent for 
my family and located them at Carr's Hill, a beau- 
tiful spot in the immediate vicinity of the Univer- 
sity. We were delightfully situated there, as the 
house was commodious, the grounds were beautiful 
and the company was select and charming. Under 
the same roof was the Fairfax family, and the 
Misses Gary, of Baltimore, two lovely girls wllo 
distinguished themselves by their devotion to the 
South. The elder of these sisters. Miss Hettie, 
married General Pegram, one of the bravest sol- 
diers produced by the Confederacy, and wore the 
weeds of widowhood before her orange flowers had 
faded. The first time that I ever heard the soul- 
inspiring words of " My Maryland" they were 
sung by her, and as her voice was exquisite, her 
bosom aglow with patriotic fervor, and her face 
radiant with the rarest beauty, the song inspired 
and entranced me beyond expression. 

She has remarried after a protracted widowhood 
and many an earnest protest against it, and, for 
one, I wish her the fullest measure of happiness 
in return for the pleasure which she gave me by 
sino'ing '' Mv Maryland'" at Carr's Hill in '62. 

You have often heard me speak with enthusiasm 
of Professor John Staige Davis, of the University 
of Virginia, and I should be an unreliable histor- 
ian if I failed to refer to him in this connection. 
He has grown older of course since we separated 
in 1850, but his heart has not changed in the least 
degree. Taking him for all in all, I have never 


known a better man or a more attractive lecturer. 
'No one has done more to add to the popularity of 
the University or to maintain its high character as 
a school of learning than he. I have never met 
with a physician who had studied at the University 
without finding him a warm friend and an enthu- 
siastic admirer of Dr. Davis, and I have yet to 
hear the first word of criticism or censure respect- 
ing him. 

He held a surgeon's commission during the war, 
and many a suffering soldier has reason to thank 
heaven for the blessing of his skillful treatment 
and his faithful ministrations. 

He is yet spared to give credit to his alma mater, 
to 'add dignity to his profession, and to do honor 
to Virginia — the land of his birth and the home 
of his warmest affections — and I sincerely hope that 
many years of usefulness and happiness are still 
reserved for him. 

Professor John B. Minor, in utrumque paratus, 
devoted himself to the care of the stricken sol- 
diers and the consolation of their sorrowing friends, 
and won from both a meed of praise and gratitude 
which will prove a crown of honor while the record 

Professor James L. Cabell, the surgeon in charge, 
discharged the onerous duties of his position with 
unfaltering zeal and conspicuous ability, and 
thus added fresh luster to the reputation which he 
had already won as a teacher, a scientist and a 

In a word, there was no faltering upon the part 
of any one, and all — whether male or female, white 
or black — who had work to do, did it nobly and 
faithfully. The Southern people can never forget 
the services rendered to them by the University of 
Virginia in that sad hour of their suffering and 


284 A doctor's experiexces 



My Dear Doctor : 

After several months of service at the University 
and when only fever cases remained for treatment, 
I became weary of the life there and applied for new 
orders. Fortunately I had won the confidence of 
Surgeon L. Guild, an officer of distinction who had 
resigned from the United States Army, and of 
whom I shall have much to say hereafter, and 
through his kind offices I was transferred to Rich- 
mond, and made a member of a board of inspec- 
tion and supervision of which he was president. 

The other members of this board were Surgeon 
F. Sorrell and Surgeon J. P. Logan — two thor- 
ough ojentlemen and accomplished .physicians. 

It was our daily duty first to visit and inspect 
the hospitals of Richmond, and then to devote our- 
selves to the examination of all soldiers who had 
been recommended for furlough or discharge by 
the medical officers in the field. 

This work was exceedingly onerous, and yet I 
was delighted with it, both because of the agree- 
able society of my colleagues and of the amount 
of pi'actical experience which it afforded, as we 
were brought in constant contact with the wounded 
and had an opportunity of operating whenever we 
thought proper. 

The Spottswood Hotel, at which I lived with my 
wife and child, was the chief rendezvous of the offi- 


cers and officials, and I had an opportunity of see- 
ing much of the society of the Confederate court. 
I have neither the space nor the inclination to draw 
a picture of the social life of Richmond during the 
early days of the war, and I will content myself 
with the observation that there is a plentiful sup- 
ply of human nature in men and women wherever 
they are found and whatever may be the circum- 
stances by which they are surrounded. Jealousy, 
too, was born with the primeval man or more prob- 
4ibly with the original woman, and it will only 
die with the last '' survivor." Resurgam has 
been its motto from the beginning, and so it will 
be to the end, in defiance of revolutions, whether 
political, social or what not. If heart burnings 
were somewhat indulged in and gossip did "un- 
fold its tale" occasionally, they were amply atoned 
for by the display of virtues which should have 
done honor to any race or epoch, and by the per- 
formance of deeds upon which heaven will smile 
approvingly while the record endures. 

The devotion which the women of the South dis- 
played for " the cause" and the attentions which 
they lavished upon the sick and wounded ha'^e no 
]3arallel in history. These attentions, though ori- 
ginating in the purest motives, were sometimes 
€arried to extremes, interfering with the surgeon's 
duties and militating against the best interests of 
the patient. Quite an amusing story was told at 
the time apropos of this excess of zeal and super- 
fluity of ministrations. It was circulated in the 
form of a dialogue between a sympathetic lady and 
-a wounded soldier, and as such I will reproduce it 
here : 

Sympathetic lady : " My dear young man, will 
jou let me wash your face this morning ?" 


Wounded soldier : ''I am very tired and sleepy. 
Please don't disturb me.," 

Sympathetic lady : " But I do feel so much for 
you, my poor boy, and I want so much to wash 
your face, just this once." 

Wounded soldier : "But my wound pains me, 
and I would like to be let alone." 

Sympathetic lady : "I must do something for 
you and for ' the cause ;' do let me wash your face for 
your mother's sake." 

Wounded soldier: "Well, madam, if you insist 
upon it, wash away, but you are just the sixteenth 
lady who has washed my face to-day, and all for 
my mother's sake." 

And, carried away by her enthusiasm, she 
washed his face, believing that she was doing God's 
service by the act. ^ 

Of course it was almost sacrilegious thus to make 
a jest of so holy a thing as woman's sympathy for 
the afflicted, but soldiers are the gayest of human 
beings, and their propensity to laugh at every- 
thing, even amid the most solemn surroundings^ 
seems to be absolutely irresistible. As an illustra- 
tion of this I will tell one of Governor Vance's 
stories : He relates that once having heard a regi- 
ment which was in line of battle, and momentarily 
expecting an attack, give way to the loudest shouts 
and the wildest merriment, he stopped a ragged 
veteran who was passing by, and asked what was 
" the meaning of all the rumpus over the way?" 

" Well, now, you see/' replied the soldier, "I haint 
been thereabouts, and I cant zackly tell^ but I reckon 
as how them boys is either flushed up a ' molly- 
cotton-tail' (the popular name for a rabbit) or old 
Stonewall is a passing by." 

But, seriously the kindness displayed by the 
women of the South toward the soldiers of the Con- 


federacy was most beautiful — was sublime. With- 
out regard to the danger incurred, to tlie severity of 
the service involved, or to the sacrifice demanded, 
they were always prepared to minister to the sick 
and wounded compatriots, and with a fidelity which 
is without a precedent in the annals of warfare. 

Nearly twenty years have passed since those 
noble deeds were done, and many who participated 
in them are now saints in heaven, but their coun- 
try alike in the days of its ruin and of its recupera- 
tion has kept the fires of gratitude brightly burn- 
ing in their memory, as it will delight to do 
throughout the coming generations, until the last 
wave of time has broken upon the shores of eter- 

After several months of work in Richmond I 
was sent for by the surgeon-general and offered a 
position on a medical examining board which he 
was about to establish in North Carolina. 

Love for my native State has always been a part 
of my religion, and as agreeably situated as I was 
in Richmond I eagerly embraced the opportunity 
to return to North Carolina, and to serve her 

In a short time, therefore, I found myself installed 
at Golds borough, doing duty on this board, in 
association with Dr. Wyatt M. Brown, a brother 
tar heel and a splendid fellow, and two others 
whose names I will not give for reasons which will 
appear in the progress of this narrative. 

Our business was to examine all medical officers 
serving in the department, and such medical men 
as desired positions in the army. This work, 
though pleasant enough in itself, was rendered ex- 
ceedingly disagreeable because of the insane preju- 
dice which the chairman of the board entertained 
against North Carolina, and of his morbidly irri- 

288 A doctor's experiences 

table temper — the result I think of chronic dys- 
pepsia. He only knew of the standard of attain- 
ment existing in the old army, and he voted gen- 
erally against those who failed to come up to its 
requirements, especially if they chanced to be North 
Carolinians. As a large majority of the appli- 
cants had served for a long time in the field, where 
text-books cquld not be obtained, they were neces- 
sarily deficient in technicalities and details, and 
hence the application of so rigid a test as that in- 
sisted upon by the chairman was not only unfair 
per se, but was calculated to deprive the army of 
many of its best medical officers. The seances of 
the board were consequently only a series of dis- 
putes, in which Dr. Brown and I were arrayed on 
the side of liberality and common sense, while the 
other members adhered to exacting an impossible 
standard of the United States Army. 

It so happened that once every week our morbid 
associate took a dose of purgative medicine and 
that on the succeeding day he was usually some- 
what less disagi-eeable to his associates and rather 
more lenient toward those who presented themselves 
for examination. We endeavored therefore — in the 
interest of peace and justice — to persuade him that 
the condition of his health demanded the exhibi- 
tion of a daily cathartic, but the spirit of antagon- 
ism was so rampant in his bosom that he not only 
refused to take our advice, but gave up his weekly 
pill of aloes and colocynth as well — to the infinite 
annoyance of his colleagues and the sorrow of every 
candidate who came forward during that period of 
protracted constipation and morbid irritability. 

All this was unpleasant enough in itself, but it 
was rendered the more intolerable by the fact that 
we were without redress or remedy, and were com- 
pelled to submit to his prejudices and peculiarities. 


Luckily, the enforced absence of liis coadjutor 
finally gave us the majority, and saved the medical 
corps of the > department from disgrace and deci- 

Having received information that New Berne 
was about to be attacked, we obtained authority to 
visit it in order to render assistance to the wounded. 
We slept at the Gaston House, and were awakened 
early by heavy firing in the distance, but finding 
it impossible to obtain conveyances to the battle- 
field — which was about four miles from the town 
and on the opposite side of the river — we went 
to the Academy^ where the medical director had 
established his head-quarters. 

The firing continued, increasing in violence and 
distinctness continually, and the wounded soon be- 
gan to arrive. As we were busily engaged with 
the work before us, and the reports from the field 
were favorable, we never dreamed of danger to 
ourselves or to those under our charge. Suddenly 
a shell of large caliber exploded in such close prox- 
imity to the hospital that some of the fragments 
struck its roof. 

" My God," cried the medical director, " the 
fleet has passed the obstructions and is shelling the 
town ; we shall all be. killed," and rushing to the 
door, he mounted his horse and fled precipitately. 

Some of. the surgeons became demoralized for a 
moment, and seemed disposed to follow his ex- 
ample, but placing myself against the door, I pro- 
tested against their departure most emphatically. 
This decisive action had the desired effect. They 
immediately returned to their work and assured me 
of their determination to stand by it to the last 
extremity- -and they did so. We then went to the 
front door to reconnoiter, and witnessed a scene 
which is stamped indelibly upon my memory. 

290 A doctor's experiences 

A portion of the town was in flames, and vol- 
umes of dense smoke darkened the air : the streets 
were filled with fugitives, some mounted, others on 
foot, rushing madly toward the station ; women 
and children were pouring out of the houses, wring- 
ing their hands, crying '^fire" and uttering the 
wildest shrieks ; and eveything was in a state of 
utter chaos and confusion. 

Just at that moment a train of open cars, laden 
with commissary stores, and under the charge of 
an officer with whom I chanced to be acquainted, 
came moving slowly from the direction of the 
battle-field, and stopped within a few yards of the 

Rushing to this officer, I told him of the flight 
of the director, and earnestly implored permission 
to place the wounded upon the train in order to 
prevent them from falling into the hands of the 
enemy. He kindly consented, informing me at the 
same time that only a small force — a si ogle de- 
tachment of marines fi'om the gun-boat which had 
passed the obstructions — was actually in the town, 
but that our troops were in full retreat, closely fol- 
lowed by the enemy. Improvising stretchers from 
doors and window-blinds, and seizing some wheel- 
barrows which happened to be convenient, I soon 
had the wounded placed upon the cars, and made 
as comfortable as the circumstances would allow 
upon mattresses and under blankets taken from the 
hospital. Before I could get upon the train, how- 
ever, it suddenly moved off, and I was left amid 
the throng of frightened and fleeing fugitives. 
Hurrying along with the rest, I arrived at the de- 
pot only in time to see the last train disappear in 
the distance, and to find myself apparently deprived 
of all means of escape. Just as I regarded my 
capture as certain, 1 had the good luck to find a 


riderless horse — a long-legged, raw-bony gray, 
which some soldier had abandoned for a place upon 
the train — and climbing into the vacant saddle, I 
dashed out of town, with my dyspeptic confrere 
mounted behind me and at a speed which would 
have 4;old in the Derby or the Grand Prix. 

The scene upon the road beggars description — it 
was the comhle of all that is expressed in the word 
panic. For miles 1 encountered a confused mass of 
officers, soldiers and civilians, mingled indiscrimi- 
nately together — some without coats, others hat- 
less, and a majority having no arms — in a state of 
utter demoralization ; women and children hurry- 
ing helter-skelter on foot or in every possible 
vehicle, frightened nearly out of their wits ; and 
carts, wagons, carriages and conveyances of every 
imaginable description and condition, laden with 
household goods — the Lares and Penates of many 
a ruined family — hurrying along as fast as their 
lashed and imprecated teams could drag them ; 
while the earth was strewn with arms, accouter- 
ments, hats, uniforms, domestic utensils and here 
and there a jaded man and a foundered horse. 
Every few moments the cry would sweep along the 
disjointed line : " The Yankee cavalry is coming," 
and the surging mass would make a still more 
desperate effort to increase its pace, or would scat- 
ter into the bushes on either side of the road like 
a covey of frightened partridges. 

A panic must be witnessed and participated in to 
be a]3preciated, and even then it cannot be described. 
The men who were thus flying in terror from an 
imaginary danger: — for the enemy possessed no 
cavalry, and never dared to leave the town — proved 
eventually the bravest soldiers the world ever 
saw. From the Valley to Appomattox they left a 
record of their heroism which the nations have re- 

-"29 2 A doctor's experiences 

'garded with admiration, and their own people will 
treasure as the most precious of heir-looms. 

Panics are nothing more or less than a species of 
•emotional insanity temporaily affecting masses, 
binder the influence of which manhood succumbs, 
reason is silenced, and the fear of death prei:lom- 
inates to the exclusion of every other sentiment and 

I can only express the hope that it may never be 
my misfortune to witness another, and certainly not 
to be called on to participate in one, for I have had 
sufficient experience in that line to last for a life- 
time — with a lap for the ""other side of Jordan" of 
no insignificant proportions. 

When about six miles from New Berne I had the 
good fortune to overtake a confrere traveling in a 
Ibuggy drawn by a fine team of horses, and I gladly 
accepted an invitation to take a seat with him, 
leaving the well-blown charger to the sole posses- 
sion of my fellow-passenger, the aforesaid chairman 
•of the medical examining board. 

At Kinston, thirty miles from New Berne, I 
•stopped for the night, all fear of the '^Yankee 
■cavalry" having departed, and on the succeeding 
•day traveled by tram to Goldsborough, which I 
found filled to repletion with fugitives from the 
fight, who in some mysterious way had managed 
to make better time than the locomotive and to ar- 
rive in advance of me. Among the recent arrivals 
was the fugacious medical director, who it seems 
was one of the first to enter the town, bringing with 
him marvelous stories of his own gallant conduct 
under fire and of the capture and destruction of his 
comrades — the entire retreating army of General 

On the following day General Joseph R. Ander- 
son assumed command of the department, and one 


of his first acts was to issue a general order iu 
which he alluded in complimentary terms to my 
conduct at New Berne, and named me ''' acting 
medical director of the Department of Cape Fear." 

In the summer of 1862, while still on duty at 
GrokUborough, business carried me to Richmond,, 
where I found everything in a state of excitement 
because of the attack which General Lee proposed 
to make on General McClellan, who was then in- 
vesting the city. I called at once on my old friend 
Surgeon Guild, and was received with every mani- 
festation of pleasure. " I am delighted to see you, 
Warren, ' ' he said . ' 'The fight will begin to-morrow, 
and I am ordered to organize an ' operating corps' 
and to proceed to the field witli it. You must go 
with me. I will take no refusal." '' Refusal, in- 
deed!" said I; " nothing will give me more pleasure. 
Only tell me where lean get a horse and I am at 
your service." " As for that, there will be no 
difficulty. Charles Bell Gibson is to accompany me, 
and as he will drive one of his horses I will get 
him to lend the other to you." I then took up my 
quarters with him, and we devoted ourselves to* 
making necessary arrangements — calling upon, 
various surgeons to accompany us, and collecting 
such instruments, stores and appliances as were re* 
quired for the service. 

At four o'clock on the next day we started for 
the field, taking the Chicahominy road, and ridings 
as far as our last battery on the Richmond side of" 
the river. As the route was a long one, and every- 
thing tranquil in the various camps which we 
passed, it happened that first one surgeon and then 
another dropped behind, either overcome by fatigue 
or under the impression that there would be no 
fighting that day. When we reached the battery, 
consequently, only Surgeon Guild, Surgeon Cren- 

294 A doctor's experiences 

sliaw and myself constituted the party of ^^ special 

Just as we rode up the report of a gun was heard 
on the other side of the river ^ and Greneral D. H. 
Hill, springing upoQ the parapet, gazed earnestly 
and anxiously in the direction from which it had 
come. A moment's glance seemed to satisfy him, 
and waving his hand to his couriers, they dashed 
off to announce as we soon discovered the supposed 
arrival of " Stonewall'" Jackson from the Valley, 
and to summon the troops to join in the precon- 
certed attack upon the enemy. 

Two batteries of artillery under the command of 
Duke Johnston — an old college-mate and a gallant 
soldier — were the first to get into position, and un- 
limbering in the immediate vicinity of Mechanics- 
viile, they began to play upon the astonished 

The road was immediately thronged with troops 
hurrying eagerly to the " front" to take part in the 
fight, and, as they belonged principally to D. H. 
Hill's division, which had only recently served in 
North Carolina, I received a friendly salutation 
from nearly every officer and soldier who passed 
by. Finally Colonel Gaston Mears, of Wilming- 
ton, accompanied by several other officers, rode up 
and said to me : "■ Dr. Warren, we are ' delighted 
to see you here. Only our assistant surgeons- are 
with us, as our surgeons with their ambulances are 
in the rear, and apiDarently have not been informed 
of what is going on ; you must come along and 
look after us if we are wounded." ''Certainly," 
said I, ''it will give me the greatest pleasure to 
accompany you," and turning to Dr. Guild, I 
asked his permission to cross the river with the 
troops. " You have no business over there, War- 
ren," he answered, "and you will certainly get 


killed if you go; for the enemy is shelling the road 
from the bridge to the town, as yon can see for 
y^ourself." ''But I must go, whatever the risk," 
I pleaded; ''for these men are my compatriots and 
my personal friends, and they have appealed to me 
to stand by them." " Well, if you are determined 
to sacrifice your life I will go with you," was the 
brave and loyal response of the coming medical 
director of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

We therefore took our places in the rear of the 
•advancing column, and followed it over the bridge. 
After running the gauntlet of the road we reached 
a point beneath the hill where the troops were be- 
ing formed preliminary to a charge upon the ene- 
my's line at Ellison's mill, and where we found 
General Lee and his staff. He was engaged in 
conversation when we rode up, but immediately 
a-fterward, attracted by some wounded men from 
the batteries on the hill, he turned to his aide de 
€amp. Colonel Charles Marshall* — an old college 
friend, and one of the best and bravest officers in the 
a,rmy — and asked: "Is there a medical officer 
present?" "Yes, General, here is Dr. Warren," 
was Colonel Marshall's reply. General Lee then 
turned to me and said : "I need a medical director, 
and you must act as such, as you seem to be the only 
medical officer available. I shall have the order is- 
sued at the first practicable moment." For an in- 
stant my brain reeled from excitement and gratifi- 
cation, for this was a promotion above all that I 
had dreamed of — it was the offer of the highest 
medical position in the Army of Northern Virginia, 

* Colonel Marshall is a oTandson and a worthy representa- 
tive of Chief- Justice Marshall, of "S^irginia. He' bore olf the 
highest honors of the University, greatly distinguished him- 
self in the war, and is now one of the leaders of the Balti- 
more bar. We have been warm friends for thirtv vears. 

296 A doctor's experiexces 

and it meant the identification of my name with 
that of its great commander while history is to be 
read. But, thank God! there was a sentiment in 
my heart stronger than its ambition^ and potent 
enough to keep me in the path of rectitude and 
honor. I knew that Guild was entitled to the posi- 
tion, and remembering that he was my friend and 
benefactor, afeer a moment's struggle with myself 
I said to General Lee : "I should be only too proud 
and happy to serve you — to be the medical director 
of this army — but Dr. Guild is here, and he is en- 
titled to the promotion." ''You are right, sir, I 
know Dr. Guild very well. Where is he?" was 
his response. "Only a few paces in the rear ; we 
came into the field together, and he has halted a 
moment to speak to a friend. I will bring him at 
once," I answered, as Dr. Guild appeared upon the 
scene, unconscious of the honor in store for him, 
and saluted the general. General Lee greeted him 
warmly, for they were old comrades, and said ta 
him : "I need a medical director, and I name you 
for the position. Get to work immediately and 
.make your arrangements for some heavy fighting." 
" Many thanks, General, I will do my best to 
merit your approbation/' was Guild's reply. Then 
turning to me he asked: "What position do you 
desire, Warren?" "Any position that will keep 
me with you and give me a chance to see service 
and to do something," I answered. Turning to 
the General he said at once : " With your permis- 
sion, General, I will make my friend Dr. Warren 
the medical inspector of the army." General Lee 
bowed in acquiescence, and thus by one of those 
strange freaks of fortune which have so frequently 
surprised and startled me in life I found myself 
suddenly elevated to the second position of honor 


and responsibility in the medical staff of the Army 
of Northern Virginia. 

There hangs upon my office wall, framed elabor- 
ately and treasured fondly, a dilapidated paper- 
writing, which runs in this wise : 

Battle-Field, June 21, 1862. 
Special Order No. 3. 

Surgeon E. Warren is detailed for duty as medi- 
cal inspector of the hospitals of Northern Virginia, 
and, will make daily reports of the condition of 
these hospitals to tbe medical director. 
By order of General Lee. 

L. Guild, Surgeon C. S. A., 

Medical Director. 

This order was written, as you will perceive, upon 
the "battle-field" itself,while cannon werebelching 
forth their deadly breath and bayonets were flash- 
ing in the lurid sunlight, and the shouts of charg- 
ing battalions were filling the air, and death was 
holding high carnival around us ; and alike from 
the circumstances under which it was promulgated 
and the associations which cluster around it, it 
possesses for me a value which cannot be computed 
in figures expressed in language. Above the fir- 
man of the Khedive of Egypt and the decree of 
the President of the Republic of France — beyond 
all the orders, medals and diplomas of which I 
have been the recipient — I prize this simple sheet 
of soiled and time-molded paper, with the scarcely 
legible words which are written upon it, and I 
have carried it in triumph with me in all my wander- 
ings, and I shall leave it to my children as my 
proudest and richest legacy. 

Dr. Guild turned to me immediately and said : 
"In God's name, Warren, what am I to do? I 

298 A doctor's experiences 

know nothing of the medical organization of the 
army. I have not seen a surgeon or an ambulance 
since I left Richmond, and it is now nearly night, 
with a terrible fight on hand." ^' It is an embar- 
rassing position," I answered, ''but there must be 
a way out of it. The assistant surgeons with the 
attacking regiments will certainly send their 
wounded to Mechanicsville, and you had better 
ride there at once and assume charge of them. I 
remember having seen about two miles in the rear 
at least fifty ambulances parked around an old 
barn, and I have no doubt the surgeons are there 
awaiting orders. I will go for them and order 
them up." "All right. Gro for them at once, and 
then join me as quickly as possible," he replied. 

Putting spurs to my horse I dashed off like the 
wind in search of the absent surgeons, and, luckily, 
met them in the immediate neighborhood of the 
bridge, as they had heard the firing and were has- 
tening tow^ard it in obedience to an instinctive sense 
of duty. Without waiting for them I returned 
and joined Guild, who was already at work, and 
who w^as delighted at seeing me again, especially 
as I was the bearer of intelligence that greatly re- 
lieved his anxiety and embarrassment. 

I had hardly arrived when an aide-de-camp from 
General Lee rode up, with orders to the medical 
director to give onl}^ the first care to the wounded 
at- Mechanicsville and then to transfer them with 
all possible dispatch to ambulance trains which 
awaited on the Central railroad to transport them 
to Richmond ; and in so doing to avoid the road 
over which the troops were to advance on the next 

The entire night was spent in sending parties to 
the field in search of the wounded, in giving those 
who where brought in such attention as was abso- 


lutely necessary, and then in transporting them as 
rapidly as possible to the trains just referred to. 
The reason of this order, so far as it related to the 
immediate transfer of the wounded, though not 
apparent at the moment, became conspicuously evi- 
dent shortly afterward, and in a manner which 
left a lasting impression upon my mind. 

Just before dawn a major-general and his suite 
rode up to the principal hospital, gave their horses 
to the couriers, and stretched themselves upon the 
floor of the piazza, hoping to obtain some repose 
after the labors of the night. Having sent the last 
wounded man to the rear, and being utterly ex- 
hausted from the combined effects of excitement and 
overw^ork. Dr. Guild and I followed their example, 
making a couch of the door-step, as the atmosphere 
of the house itself was oppressive with heat and 
odors. A few moments of profound silence elapsed, 
when just as there was light enough to render 
surrounding objects visible, we heard the report of 
a musket followed by the thud of a conical ball as it 
struck the house immediately above our heads. This 
seemed to be the signal for a general attack upon the 
building, for the enemy, not having been dislodged 
by the assault of the previous evening — as General 
Lee knew when he gave the order for the removal of 
the wounded — immediately opened fire upon it with 
artillery and musketry at short range. The effect 
was terrific. In an instant one ot the couriers was 
killed, several trees in the yard were shattered, a 
chimney came tumbling down about us, fragments 
of the roof flew in every direction, and the building 
was rendered almost a wreck. Rushing to our 
horses, and mounting them rapidly, we fled for our 
lives, first through the dense wood in the rear, and 
then over the open field, until we came to the main 
road at the Chicahorainy bridge. The first person 

300 A doctor's experiences 

encountered there was General Lee, who, with his 
staff, was riding in the direction of the scene of the 
previous engagement. A snoile played over the old 
man's countenance when he observed our plight 
and precipitation, and as we drew in our foaming 
horses and saluted him respectfully, he asked most 
blandly : " Why so hurried this morning, gentle- 
men?" Hearing a clatter behind us at this moment, 
I turned and saw the general who had made the 
piazza his bed chamber a little while before, accom- 
panied by his staff officers and couriers, approach- 
ing through the field at a pace fully as great as 
ours had been, and quietly pointing to him, I re- 
plied : '^General L. is in command, and he will 
explain everything." 

As we had dispatched the last wounded man to 
the rear, and had nothing further to do at Mechanics- 
ville, it would have been folly to remain there to 
be killed in gloriously, and hence we deemed dis- 
cretion the better part of valor under the circum- 
stances, as did our companion in peril, who was 
one of the bravest officers of the Confederacy. 

A flank movement on the part of General Jack- 
son quickly compelled the enemy to abandon his 
position, and gave us at the same time the oppor- 
tunity to remove such of the wounded as still re- 
mained where they had fallen and to bury those 
who had died in that bloody meadow. 

While engaged in seeking the wounded I en- 
countered a burial party from the Edenton com- 
pany, and assisted them to inter several of its mem- 
bers — boys whom I had known from their births 
and whose parents were the friends of my childhood. 

James Hawkins — the son of our village under- 
taker and a fine young man in every way — could 
only be recognized by his body, as his head had 
been carried entirely away by a round shot. 


T also heard of the fatal wounding of their former 
captain, T. L. Skinner^ who had been recently 
promoted to the majority of his regiment and was 
in his first fight. He was one of the wealthiest 
men in Chowan County, and the direct descendant 
of Gabriel Johnstone — a royal governor of North 
Carolina — as well as a gentleman of the highest 
character and of the most amiable disposition. 
Closely related to my wife, he had celebrated our 
marriage with a magnificent party at his country 
seat near Edenton, and I had not only been his 
family physician for years, but his friend for a life- 

It was with a sad heart, therefore, that I per- 
formed my .work that diy, for visions of old Eden- 
ton, with the associations which made it the dearest 
spot on earth to me, filled my mind continually, 
and yet I never had greater need of a clear head 
and a steady hand. On the succeeding day occurred 
the sanguinary battle of Gaines' Mills — or Coal 
Harbor, as it w^as designated by McClellan in his 
dispatches — and we were again flooded w^th 
wounded men from both armies. Fortunately, 
however, the medical director had completed the 
organization of his department, and everything 
w^orked without clash or confusion. 

And so matters continued for a week — a furious 
battle being fought every day, leaving upon the 
field a sufficient number of wounded men to occupy 
the surgeons until their places were supplied by 
others from the succeeding fight and giving us 
such an amount of labor to perform as to prevent 
us from taking a sufficiency of food and from ob- 
taining the necessary amount of sleep. 

A culmination was finally reached at Malvern 
Hill, where, after a desperate battle, the Federal 
commander repulsed the Confederates and secured 

302 A doctor's experiences 

an opportunity to retreat to Harrison's Landing 
under the protection of tlie river fleet. Just before 
the fight began a corps of city surgeons — clad in 
brilliant uniformSj and filled with professional 
ardor — arrived at our field-hospital, and asked to 
be assigned to duty for the occasion. At that pre- 
cise moment two shells — the first fired from Mal- 
vern — fell in quick succession within a few feet of 
the party. 

Guild was engaged ,in the amputation of a limb 
at the time, and, with the cool courage which so 
greatly distinguished him, he continued his work 
as deliberately as if he were in the amphitheater 
of a medical college. Our new recruits waited un- 
til the operation was competed, looking as serious 
as if they expected at any moment to be called to 
their last account, and then suddenly remembering 
certain important engagements in Richmond, 
quietly filed away, to be seen no more on that or 
any other battle-field. They could have remained 
with perfect impunity, however, for not another 
shell fell in that vicinity during the fight, and the 
hospital proved for the occasion a veritable '^ bomb- 

The battle of Malvern Hill was in all regards 
one of the most terrible of the war. The Federal 
commander having selected a splendid position- — 
the apex of a cone toward which a series of plains 
converged, and which could not be reached by a 
flank movement — concentrated upon it the whole 
of his artillery, and then brought to its support the 
guns of the river fleet and the muskets of his entire 
infantry. Thus entrenched and supported he would, 
in all probability, have been impregnable in any 
event against the best handled and the most com- 
pletely concentrated army of the world — but on 


this occasion he was rendered absolutely so by the 
manner in which he was attacked. 

By some misunderstanding of General Lee's 
orders, and with the bravado of over-confidence, a 
mere handful of men threw themselves upon the 
position in the premises, and they, having been re- 
pulsed, another division took their places, only to 
meet with the same fate ; and thus the fight con- 
tinued until the entire army had been involved in 
detail and by detachments. There was at no time 
a combined, simultaneous and systematic attack 
upon the position, and the battle was lost almost 
by default — because of the overweening self-reliance 
of the Southern troo|)s engaged in it. The truth 
is, success had so continuously wreathed itself about 
the Confederate standard — the array was in such 
a splendid and seemingly exhaustless stream of 
luck — that it had learned to despise its adversaries, 
and to suppose that dash and daring upon its part 
were the infallible assurances of victory, whatever 
might be the strength of the enemy or the difficul- 
ties of the situation. The repulse was complete 
and overwhelming ; and so great was the conse- 
quent confusion and demoralization that for several 
hours after the engagement the Confederate army 
had absolutely no organic existence — was nothing 
more nor less than a heterogenous mass of strag- 
glers extending from Malvern Hill to Richmond. 
McClellan could, in fact, have marched during that 
night or on the succeeding morning into the Con- 
federate capital with as much ease and as little 
opposition as he actually traversed the space which 
separated him from the river side and the protect- 
ing guns of the fleet. 

Nothing could live upon those fatal hillsides 
during the progress of the fight, and those who 
fell there had to remain where they had fallen un- 

304 A doctor's experiences 

til the retreat of the enemy permitted their burial 
or their removal, as the necessities of the case re- 

During the entire period of the fight a continu- 
ous stream of wounded men — composed of those 
who were able to crawl from the field or who fell 
upon its margin — poured into the contiguous hos- 

I have never forgotten one poor fellow, whose 
case fell under my observation. He was a mere lad, 
belonging to a Louisiana regiment, and was wounded 
so soon after entering the field that he fell where he 
could be reached and brought away. Observing that 
blood was flowing copiously from his head I passed 
my hand over its surface and discovered a hard 
substance projecting from a penetrating wound of 
the cranium. A closer examination revealed the 
presence of the hammer of a gun-lock buried so 
deeply in the substance of the brain as almost to 
conceal its presence, and to render its removal diffi- 
cult. He was profoundly comatose when brought 
in, but so soon as the foreign body was lifted from 
its bed, with a scintillation of intelligence he sprang 
to his feet and, waving his hands in the air, cried out 
in ringing tones: " Come on, boys ! One more blow 
for the ladies of New Orleans," and then fell ex- 
hausted and senseless to the earth again. What 
became of him I never knew, though I had him 
lifted up tenderly and borne to the rear, with in- 
structions to the surgeons there to treat him as if 
he were my son. But time can never efface from 
my memory the recollection of that fair young face 
lit up by the glare of torches and the fire of enthu- 
siasm ; that frail form trembling from physical 
weakness yet instinct with patriotic fervor, and ^ 
that strange flashing up of a flickering intellect 


under the spell of the sentiment which had inspired 
it in the shock of battle. 

General Lee passed an anxious and sleepless 
night, for no man could tell what the morrow 
would reveal. Fortunately for him and for his 
cause, the victors, in total ignorance of the ruin 
they had wrought, and of the opportunity which it 
gave them, fled before the dawn and left the field 
to the vanquished. 

I rode over the field at an early hour on the suc- 
ceeding day, and found it literally gray with South- 
ern jackets — completely paved with the bodies of 
dead and wounded Confederates. 

In all my experience I have never seen anything 
comparable with the slaughter upon those fatal 
hillsides, and only a history written by some one 
who participated in the fight, or who read the rec- 
ord of its gory field, can convey a conception of 
the desperation of the assault and theobstinancy of 
the resistance at Malvern Hill. 

A little in the rear of the hostile line I discov- 
ered an old-fashioned Virginia ice-house, the roof 
of which had been penetrated by one of the large 
shells from the gunboats. Prompted by a spirit 
of curiosity I opened the door* and looked within, 
to be startled by one of the most ghastly specta- 
cles that I ever beheld. There lay the stiffened 
forms of twelve Union soldiers, all of whom had 
evidently taken refuge in the house during the en- 
gagement, and had been killed together by the 
single shell which penetrated its roof and exploded 
upon its floor. 

During this eventful week the fortunes of war 
carried me under the very roof beneath which my 
father and mother were married. Savage's Sta- 
tion, on the York River Railroad, where a severe 
engagement was fought, and an immense supply 

306 A doctor's experiences 

of hospital tents arid stores were captured — though 
the enemy had attempted to destroy them, while 
they left their wounded in our hands — was for- 
merly known hy the name of Laurel Grove, the 
seat of my mother's family when she was a girl. 
Under the very oaks which sheltered me that day 
and amid the bowers in which I wandered, my 
father had told the story of his love, and she to 
whom I owe my being had listened and responded, 
little dreaming that their son would come in after 
years with a victorious army to wrest it from an 
invader, and to find its green lawns white with 
alien tents and covered with mutilated bodies. 
Such is life — a record of the certainty only of the 
uncertain — a series of seeming impossibilities — a 
chain whose every link is forged of an incongruity 
and a surprise. 

With the battle of Malvern Hill the '^seven- 
days' fight" concluded, and a period of inaction 
followed, which was devoted to the recuperation of 
our own exhausted energies, and to the more com- 
plete organization of the medical staff. 

I subsequently returned to my post in North 
Carolina, and during the succeeding months of ab- 
solute rest at GoldsboVough T devoted myself to 
the preparation of a manual of military surgery, 
such as my own experience with the medical offi- 
cers of the Confederacy convinced me to be a de- 
sideratum. Pretending to no originality, I simply 
sought to describe the various operations in sur- 
gery according to the data furnished by the best 
authorities, and to show the appreciation to which 
th'ey were entitled. The typographical execution 
of the book was very imperfect, as nearly all of the 
practical printers were in the army and the work 
had to be done by the merest tyros in the art, and 
yet it met with so cordial a reception as to necessi- 


tate immediate preparation for thelssueof a second 
edition. It was entitled '' Surgery for Field and 
Hospital/' and though bearing the imprint of 
West & Johnson, of Richmond, it was really 
printed by some boys at Raleigh. 

308 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

In the summer of 1862 the Honorable Zebulon 
B. Vance was elected governor of North Carolina, 
and through the intervention of mutual friends — es- 
pecially of Dr. T. J. Boykin, who was then sur- 
geon of his regiment — I was appointed surgeon- 
general of the State soon afterward. 

My predecessor would scarcely have been re- 
moved, as he was a physician of ability and a gen- 
tleman of high social standing, but, supposing my 
appointment inevitable, he resigned the office on 
the eve of the Governor's inauguration, upon the 
ground of its uselessness in the supposed per- 
fected condition of the Confederate medical organ- 
ization — much to my surprise and gratification. 

Of Dr. Boykin I will say, en passant^ that a 
more loyal and pure-hearted man never lived, and 
that he commanded in a pre-eminent degree the 
respect and confidence of all who knew him — an 
experience which has since been repeated and em- 
phasized in the city of Baltimore, where he has 
made for himself a home and a fortune since the 
war. His love for Governor Vance, his former 
commander, has ever been like that of Damon for 
Pythias — a sentiment incorporating itself into his 
entire life, and elucidating in its unreserved admir- 
ation and unselfish service much of the true dig- 
nity and inherent excellence of human nature. I 


am proud to call such a man my frieud. and feel a 
fresh inspiration to virtue in the contemplation of 
his noble character and honorable life. 

I cannot begin, my dear Doctor, to express the 
gratification which this advancement afforded me. 
To be thus elevated to the highest medical position 
known to my native State, filled my bosom with 
peculiar pride and exultation, while it inspired a 
sense of gratitude to Governor Vance which made 
me his devoted friend for life, and awakened a desire 
to serve North Carolina, from which I can say with 
truth, and without vanity, incalculable benefits 
accrued alike to her soldiers and to her people. 

The legislature was induced to give a palpable 
contradiction to the alleged uselessness of the office 
by an appropriation of one hundred thousand dol- 
lars annually to its support.. 

Supported by the Governor, I established a num- 
ber of wayside hospitals at convenient points in 
the State, and a soldiers' home in Richmond, which 
fed, warmed, sheltered and clothed thousands of 
weary and suffering soldiers as they journeyed 
homeward or campward. 

I purchased in Europe a large stock of instru- 
ments, medicines and hospital stores, and dis- 
tributed them with a liberal hand to the North 
Carolina troops long after the Confederate author- 
ities had exhausted their supply and were without 
the means of replenishing them. 

I caused to be collected at convenient points on 
the railroads or to be sent to my office at Raleigh 
monthly contributions to the necessities of the sol- 
diers at the front and had them forwarded regularly 
to their proper destination. 

I organized a corps of competent surgeons — 
among whom were Dr. Eugene Grissom and Dr. 
David Tayloe, of whom I cannot speak too 

310 A doctor's experiences 

highly — and sent them wherever the sick and 
wounded were to be found and services coukl be 

1 effectually stamped out an epidemic of small- 
pox which threatened to invade the State from 
several points simultaneously, by appointing a 
vaccinator in every county, sup|)lying him with 
reliable virus, and seeing that his duties were faith- 
fully performed — the records of my office showing 
the vaccination of seventy thousand persons of all 
ages, complexions and conditions. 

I organized a medical staff for the militia and 
Home Guards of the State, supervised the examina- 
tion of such as claimed exemption from duty upon 
the ground of physical disability, and supplied each 
regiment with proper instruments and a plentiful 
supply of hospital stores. 

In a word, in a thousand different ways I made 
my department felt, appreciated and respected, not 
only by North Carolina but by the whole Confed- 
eracy. As an evidence of this I recall with infinite 
pride and satisfaction the fact that I secured the 
confidence and friendship of Grovernor Vance, and 
that the legislature of the State upon the distinct 
grounds of ''faithful and devoted service to the 
sick and wounded ' ' raised my rank from that of 
colonel to that of brigadier -general^ with a corre- 
sponding augmentation of pay and emoluments. 

My relations with the Governor ripened into the 
closest iritimacy. He gave me his fullest confidence 
and most sincere regard. I became his most trusted 
counselor, not alone in matters appertaining to my 
special department, but in public affairs of the 
gravest nature. It was in vain that jealousy 
sought to disturb our relations or that calumny 
breathed its detractions into his ear. He kneio that 
I was faithful to him and to the trust which he 


had confided to me, and he " stood by me " under 
all circumstances and against every adversary. 

As an evidence of his confidence, I will relate some 
incidents which occurred during our association. I 
once visited a neighboring city on ofiicial business, 
and was thrown in with a party of North Carolin- 
ians who were on a desperate spree there. As 
they were the Grovernor's political friends and men 
of influence at home, I could not avoid a certain 
degree of intimacy with them, though I took no 
part in their proceedings. 

On my return, the Governor received me kindly, 
but said with a certain amount of gravity in his 
tone ; ''I heard all about your big spree, Warren." 

"My big spree, Governoi' — what in the world 
do you mean?" I asked in astonishment. 

"Now, don't crawfish. I know the whole 

thing — how you and Tom C made the place 

howl while I thought you were devoting yourself 
to public affairs," he answered, still wearing a 
serious air. 

" You must really explain yourself, Governor, 
for I don't know what you are driving at," I in- 
sisted, taking the matter seriously, and being 
greatly annoyed. 

" Well, read this," he said, as he handed me a 
letter, in the address of which I instantly recognized 
the writing of one of my supposed friends and most 
trusted assistants. 

Opening it eagerly, regardless of the " confiden- 
tial" injunction upon its envelope, I read a circum- 
stantial account of the manner in which I had 
" neglected my business and enjoyed myself," 
Returning the letter to the Governor, with the blood 
boiling in my veins at, the baseness of one who had 
been honored and trusted by me, I asked, with 

312 A doctor's experiences 

trembling lips, '* Do you believe tliis of me, 
Governor Vance?" 

" Well, as to that part of it, you can judge for 
yourself. Here is my answer. You see I did not 
wait for the mail, but answered by telegraph/'' 
said the Governor, a bright smile playing over his 
countenance. The telegram was in these words : 
''Tell Warren sorry not there to join him;" 
thus manifesting in a brief sentence his incredulity 
in the story, his fidelity to an absent friend, and 
his contempt for the informer. 1 seized the Gover- 
nor's hand, and said to him : " The man who could 
be anything else than true to such a friend as you 
are, does not deserve to live." 

On another occasion 1 called at Mr. Holden's 
office, in the vain hope of preventing an open rup- 
ture between him and the Governor, and of thus 
saving the State from a heated political struggle in 
the midst of the great war to which she stood 
fully committed. 

I saw Governor Vance on the next day, and before 
I had time to tell him of my visit and to explain 
its purpose, he said to me : ^' And so you paid 
Holden a visit last night !" 

'' Yes," said I, " but how in the world did you 
know about it?" 

" Well." replied he, ''You have some enemies 
who would prejudice me against you if they could, 
and you had hardly entered Holden's office before 
three persons came running to my house, each 
so out of breath that he could scarcely articulate, 
to inform me that my 'dearest frieod" was closeted 
with my ' most malignant enemy.' " 

"Is it possible," I exclaimed; "and what did 
you say to them ?" 

"Oh! I thanked them very much for their 
kind interest in my affairs and said that's all right, 


I suppose the visit is on my account, for I knew that 
they were instigated solely hy malice and that what- 
ever you might do it would be prompted by a desire 
to serve me," was his answer, the inherent loyalty 
of his nature instinctively arraying itself in defense 
•of the assailed and absent friend in whose loyalty 
he believed. 

In my judgment no nobler man than Zebulon 
Baird Vance was ever created — with an inherent 
kindness of heart which tempers and softens his 
entire nature ; a respect for justice and right which 
asserts itself under all possible circumstances ; a 
sense of the ridiculous from which wells out a stream 
of humor at once copious, sparkling and exhaustless, 
and an intellect which like some great oak of the 
forest is at once a ''tower of strength" and a 
^* thing of beauty forever," now braving the hurri- 
cane's breath and the lightning's flash, and then 
adorning the landscape by its grandeur, its symme- 
try and its verdure. 

I have analyzed his heart from core to covering, 
and I know that in its every cell and fiber it is of 
the purest gold, without the trace of alloy or a 
taint of counterfeit. 

I regard this period as the " golden age " of my 
existence. It is true that the din of a fearful con- 
test continually reverberated in my ears and that 
dark clouds enveloped the horizon ; but happiness 
reigned in my household, my daily duties brought 
me into intimate association with one of the truest 
of friends and the most genial of men, his friend- 
ship secured for me the respect and regard of the 
best men of the State, and I realized that I was 
engaged in a noble work — a service which was at 
once honorable in itself, invaluable to my country 
and acceptable in the sight of heaven. 

Among the most pleasant incidents of my ser- 

314 A doctor's experiences 

vice as a member of the Governor's staff was a 
visit which I made with him to the Army of North- 
ern Virginia in the winter of 1863. 

He was then a candidate for re-election to the 
gubernatorial chair, having filled it for one term 
with great eclat, but being opposed by a certain 
faction at home which proclaimed itself for " peace 
and reconstruction " on any terms. This appeal, 
it was feared, had produced some impression upon 
the minds of the soldiers in the field^ and, though 
the ostensible object of the visit was the advance- 
ment of his political interests, its real purpose was 
to rekindle the fires of patriotism in the hearts of 
the North Carolina troops, and to cheer and stimu- 
late the entire army. 1 had supposed that I knew 
him thoroughly and appreciated him fully, but I 
had really no conception of his gilts as an. orator 
and of the potency of his personal magnetism until 
this memorable occasion. 

Inspired alike by his peculiar surroundings and 
the importance of his mission, he transcended him- 
self and produced an impression upon the army — 
from its great captain to its humblest private — 
which displayed itself in the wildest enthusiasm 
for the cause and the most intense idolatry for it& 
eloquent advocate. 

That he should have been thus inspired is not 
surprising, for the circumstances which surrounded 
him would have stirred the heart of any man. 

G-eneral Lee ordered a " general review " in his- 
special honor — an incident, I believe, without 
parallel in the history of the army. 

Upon an immense plain in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of Orange Court House there were assem- 
bled the troops which composed the then uncon- 
quered Army of Northern Virginia. They were 
clad in rags but wreathed with victory ; their flags 



were soiled and tattered, but upon them were in- 
scribed the immortal names of Coal Harbor, Ma- 
nassas and South Mountain ; their arms were- 
battered and blackened, but their fire had startled 
the nations and reverberated around the world ; 
their bands were decimated and out of tune, but 
they still discoursed the inspiring strains of 
"Dixie," "The Bonny Blue Flag," and "The 
Girl I Left Behind Me," and though many a gal- 
lant leader was absent because "off duty" forever,. 
Jackson, Longstreet, Steuart, Early, Ewell, Hill,. 
Rhodes, Gordon, Pettigrew, Hampton and Fitz- 
hugh Lee were there to do honor to Carolina's- 
illustrious son. 

Arrayed in two confronting lines and with their 
bronzed faces beaming with pleasure and expect- 
ancy, the noble veterans awaited the coming of the? 
old chieftain whom they had followed in triumph 
so long, and of the youthful governor, whose de- 
votion to the cause and tender care of his owni 
troops had already made him the idol of them all. 
Finally the cannons boomed, and General Lee and 
Governor Vance appeared, and, amid a storm of en- 
thusiastic cheers and an avalanche of friendly greet- 
ings, rode slowly along the excited lines. It was a 
stirring scene, and as I rode with this distinguished 
company, and gazed into the battered but radiant 
iaces around me, and listened to the grand " Con- 
federate yell ' ' with which they hailed their great 
commander and his honored guest, I felt that it 
was indeed an occasion to be remembered, and 
realized that I stood in the presence of heroes and 
conquerors — of the men who had made history, and 
had earned even from their enemies the reputation 
of being " the bravest soldiers who ever marched to- 
the music of battle." 

So soon as the revievv — if that military love-feast 

-316 A doctor's experiences 

■can be so designated — was ended, the men and 
officers came crowding around the elevated plat- 
form which had been prepared for the orator, and 
for two hours gave him their most earnest attention. 

That day was truly a proud one for North Caro- 
lina and for her gifted son. A more appropriate, 
t^ffective and eloquent address was never uttered by 
human lips. Under the influence of his rich and 
varied imagery, his happy and graphic illustrations, 
his masterly grasp and inner meaning, his trench- 
ant thrusts and touching allusions, his stirring 
appeals and deep pathos, and, in a word, his 
magnificent and resistless eloquence, tKe audience 
was stirred, enraptured, enthused and carried av>'ay 
^s if by the spell of a magician. Not a man who 
heard that impassioned outburst of patriotic inspir- 
.^tion would have hesitated to die for his country ; 
and I am convinced that in many an hour of su- 
preme peril afterward it rang like a trumpet's 
tone through the souls of those who heard it, in- 
spiring them to a higher courage, a nobler effort, 
a purer patriotism and a more heroic matyrdom 
for the cause which they loved so well. 

If aught of luke-warmness or despondency had 
'been produced by the macliinations of a selfish fac- 
tion at home they vanished as the morning mist 
before the rising sun under the spell of this good 
man's matchless eloquence. 

I heard G-eneral Lee remark that Grovernor 
Vance's visit to the army had been equivalent to 
its reinforcement by fifty thousand men ; and it 
sowed the seeds of a friendship between those two 
true-hearted patriots which fructified even amid 
the dark days preceding the surrender, and grew and 
strengthened long after the land which they loved 
so well had drained the cup of sorrow to the dregs. 

It was then that he made classic the term ^' tar- 


heel," which others had hitherto applied in de- 
rision to the North Carolina soldiers, by addressing- 
them as ''fellow tar-heels," and demonstrating: 
that the sobriquet was but a synonym of that tena- 
cious courage which had made them stick to their 
posts in the hour of danger upon so many hard- 
fought fields, to their own imperishable honor and 
to the eternal glory of the mother State, And 
ever afterward, during the war and up to the pres- 
ent moment, the most subtle compliment which car^ 
be paid to a North Carolinian who followed the ban- 
ner of the Confederacy in all of its vicissitudes of 
fortune until it was furled forever at Appomattox, 
is to call him by that homely but blood-baptized 
appellation of '' tar-heel." 

So soon as the soldiers had recovered from the 
spell of excitement induced by the Governor's ad- 
dress, they cheered lustily for General Lee. As he 
was unaccustomed to such appeals, and had been 
reared with the strictest ideas of military discipline^ 
I feared at first that he might misinterpret the 
demonstration, but, loving the soldiers with a 
father's tenderness, he took no ofi'ense, and simply 
blushed and retired from the scene. Other officers, 
were then called for, but none responded save Gen- 
erals Early, Steuart and Rhodes, who seemed spe- 
cial favorites with the army. 

General Early being a lawyer by profession spoke 
with force and fluency, paying many handsome 
compliments to the soldiers, and especially lauding- 
the heroism of those from North Carolina. He- 
was warmly received and enthusiastically cheered 

General Steuart came forward with all that ease 
and grace for which he was so remarkable, and, 
lifting his long-feathered hat, bowed, and bowed 
again in return for the loud shouts which greeted 
him. '' Fellow-soldiers," he said, "I am a cav- 

318 A doctor's experiences 

airy man, and, consequent!}^, not an orator, but 
I should be untrue to myself if I failed to command 
words enough to thank you for your kind recep- 
tion, and to say that I have commanded many sol- 
diers, but never braver and more trusty than those 
who hailed from the Old North State. God bless 
her 1" The eloquence of Demosthenes himself could 
not have more excited the audience — especially the 
Carolina portion of it — than the simple but perti- 
nent words of the great Confederate raider, and 
they hurrahed with such emphasis that I began to 
think the Federals on the other side of the moun- 
tain would believe the whole army had commenced 
•a charge upon them. 

General Rhodes arose in a very modest and 
liesitating way and said: " I never attempted but 
one speech before this in my life, and that was 
•at Carlisle when we raised a Confederate flag over 
its arsenal last year. I did not finish that speech 
because an attack was made upon us while I was 
in the midst of it ; but with God's help I intend 
to finish my speech at Carlisle." This reference 
to a possible forward movement was received with 
the greatest manifestations of delight. "At Car- 
lisle ! At Carlisle !" was taken up and echoed and 
re-echoed by thousands of voices, and the army 
seemed ready to begin its march northward at once 
iind with as much pleasure as if some great feast 
liad been prepared for it over the border. 

With this the drums beat and the bugles sounded, 
^nd order reigned again in the Army of Northern 
Virginia as completely as if its discipline had never 
been relaxed, and nothing had occurred to dis- 
turb the routine of its hibernation. 

I had the pleasure during this visit of meeting 
with manv old friends, and amons: them the medi- 
€al director whose appointment, as you may re- 
memberj I had something to do with on the field of 


Mechanicsville. He received me with his accus- 
tomed cordiality, and we spent several pleasant 
hours together, talking of that eventful night and 
■of the memorable days which followed it. 

This reference to the Army of Northern Virginia 
reminds me to make a statement, for which I am 
sure you are unprepared. To North Carolina 
mainly belongs the honor of its grand achievements 
^the glory of the victories which has rendered its 
name immortal. From the day of its organization 
to that of its final surrender, she contributed to it 
more than one-half of its effective force. Forty 
odd regiments of " tar-heels" were upon its muster- 
rolls — a greater number than was furnished con- 
tinuously by any other Southern State — and by 
€ommon consent they were among the bravest and 
the best troops in the field. From the Eoanoke to 
the Susquehanna their bones are scattered upon 
€very field which General Lee lost or won, and their 
names and deeds are recorded in the history of his 
command from title-page to conclusion. 

I shall make another statement which may 
equally surprise you. Though North Carolina was 
opposed to the dogma of secession until the logic 
of events convinced her of the necessity of sustain- 
ing her Southern sisters, she furnished to the armies 
of the Confederacy one hundred and tioenty odd 
thousand men, thus sending out a greater number 
of soldiers than she had voters when hostilities 

These facts and figures cannot be controverted, 
and, in view of them, I respectfully submit that 
she should no longer be reviled as the Rip Tan 
Winkle of the Union, but honored as the Ajax- 
Telemon of the Confederacy. She was slow to 
take her position, but she exsanguinated and im-' 
poverished herself in maintaining it, and in so 
doing made a record for herself which her children 

320 A doctor's experiences 

will regard with pride and admiration to the re- 
motest generations. 

I also accompanied the Governor on many pleas- 
ant visits to Wilmington, whither he went to meet 
the '^Advance," the steamer which so successfully 
eluded the blockade and brought in supplies for 
the troops, and some royal feasts we had together 
there on luxuries from outre mer. 

We chanced to be in Wilmington when Butler 
attempted to destroy Fort Fisher by means of his 
celebrated ''powder-ship," the explosion of which 
did not awaken the garrison, and was taken by 
those who heard it in Wilmington for the report 
of a pack of "fire crackers" which some enthusi- 
astic urchin had fired off in honor of the repulse 
of the fleet. 

We visited the fort on the succeeding day, and 
found it somewhat battered and plowed up, but 
not materially damaged, while its huge bastions 
and parapets looked as if they might defy the com- 
bined navies of the world. So much for appear- 
ances and for military calculations generally ! 
Wken, by some strange fatality, the Confederacy 
and everything connected with it was falling, in 
the later and sadder days of the war. Fort Fisher 
fell likewise. General Ames, after a day's bom- 
bardment from the sea and a single charge upon 
land, captured the work, notwithstanding its appar- 
ent impregnability and the confident calculations 
of its defenders. 

It was certainly a formidable work, and one 
which did credit to the skill of the officer who 
originally constructed it, and who subsequently 
lost it and his life as well. 

" ^o the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain, 
No more through rolling clouds to soar again. 
Viewed, his own feather on the fatal dart, 
And wing'd the shaft that quiver'd in his heart." 




My Dear Doctor: 

I had an exciting adventure at Kinston while 
surgeon-general, in which my experience with 
danger and disaster was repeated and extended. 

When General Foster made his advance upon 
that place, I requested permission to visit it^ hop- 
ing to be of service to the wounded. En route I 
overtook a regiment whose colonel was an inti- 
mate friend of mine, which was hastening to rein- 
force the Confederate commander, filled with mar- 
tial ardor, and apprehensive only of being too late 
to take part in the fight. We arrived at the de- 
pot about midday, and were informed that an en- 
gagement had been in progress for several hours, 
and that the enemy had been repulsed at all 

As the firing continued, however, we started at 
once toward the field, hoping to come in for some 
of the glory of the day, even if we chanced to ar- 
rive at the eleventh hour, and after the battle had 
been fairly w^on. Indeed, I supposed that I should 
find work in any event, though no risk might be 
encountered in its performance. 

In those days Kinston consisted mainly of a sin- 
gle street, which extended from the railroad to 
within a short distance of the river, where it ter- 
mmated in a road that ran obliquely to a bridge 
spanning the Neuse. Upon either side of this 

322 A doctor's experiences 

street, for nearly its entire length, there were 
handsome houses, rejoicing in white gables and 
green blinds, and surrounded by luxuriant gar- 
dens, while a row of majestic elms skirted its bor- 
bers and mingled their boughs in a continuous- 
canopy above. 

All unconscious of danger, and thinking the vic- 
tory already won, the colonel permitted his men 
to straggle rather than march along, while he and 
I strolled leisurely in the rear, chatting of mutual 
friends and familiar incidents. 

We had just left the street and turned into the 
road, when we were startled by aloud and peculiar 
din coming from the opposite side of the river, and 
looking in that direction, we saw to our consterna- 
tion a body of Confederates rushing in confusion 
toward the bridge, while a large Federal force was- 
rapidly pursuing them. 

In an instant, two batteries came dashing for- 
ward, and planting their guns in a position to 
command the bridge and its approaches, poured 
round after round of grape and canister into the 
fugitives, with whom we happened to be in direct 


At the first discharge several men were killed 
beyond me, and others fell in such close proximity 
that I could distinctly hear the peculiar thud pro- 
duced by the messengers of death as they pene- 
trated their bodies. Obeying a natural impulse, I 
rushed from the dangerous roadway to the safer 
street and sought the protection of a friendly elm, 
behind which I placed myself, and then looked 
around to ascertain the fate of my comrades, and to 
determine how to extricate myself from the perils 
of the position. - 

There stood the heroic colonel, sword in hand, 
giving no heed to the peril which menaced him^ 


and solicitous only for the safety of his men. 
''Scatter, boys, and hug the earth," was the in- 
junction which he constantly repeated to them, 
and in tones that were audible even amid the roar 
of the artillery and all the discordant sounds of the 
occasion. I soon lost sight of him, however, in 
the confusion of the moment, but I subsequently 
learned that he succeeded in bringing ofP his regi- 
ment without serious loss to it or the slightest det- 
riment to himself. So much for Carolina pluck 
and coolness. 

The elms of Kinston are really separated from 
each other by about fifty feet of space and they ex- 
tend for a distance which cannot exceed a mile ; 
and yet, as I dodged from one to the other in my 
hurried flight, they seemed at least one hundred 
yards apart and to cover many leagues. 

"It is a long road which has no turning," how- 
ever, and after much trepidation nd many hair- 
breadth escapes I finally found myself at the depot 
and out of immediate danger. 

The scene at Kinston was hardly less terrible 
than that which I had witnessed at New Berne, the 
only difference being that there were fewer men 
engaged in it — the principal part of our force having 
been captured before it had reached the bridge ; 
and that the actual peril was far greater, as artillery 
was brought to bear upon the fugitives. Why a 
stand was made by an inferior force acting on the 
defensive, with a deep river and a single bridge in 
its rear, I have never been able to comprehend. 
It cannot be urged that there was no alternative 
left to the Confederate commander, for he had been 
informed of the strength of the advancing column 
and he deliberately selected his position. As my 
own life was near being sacrificed to this peculiar 
strategy, and many a good soldier had to pay for 

324 A doctor's experiences 

it with his blood and his liberty, I insisted that 
the war department should call upon its authors 
for an explanation before the bar of a court of 
inquiry. The surrender at Appomattox squared 
many an account that could never have been settled 
otherwise, and those upon whom rests the respon- 
sibility of the disaster at Kinston have special 
reason to congratulate themselves for the interven- 
tion of that fortuitous settlement as an ultimate 
investigation was inevitable. 

Having heard that some wounded men ha& been 
carried to a house on the main road immediately 
beyond the limits of Kinston, I hastened to it, 
hoping to be able to render assistance to the surgeon 
in charge, and at the same time deeming it best to 
be captured — as it seemed probable I would be — 
while engaged in the performance of my legitimate 
duties. On arriving there I found that a Missis- 
sippi surgeon had taken the house as a hospital, 
as he found it deserted by its owner, who in- his 
consternation at the approach of the enemy had 
aban( oned his possessions and fled precipitately — 
as many did in those trying times, to their subse- 
quent regret and final ruin. 

In this inhospitable w^rld there is '^ no place like 
home," especially if it be held in fee simple and 
without encumbrances, and the last thing for a 
sensible man to do is to abandon it, unless con- 
strained by an imperative obligation or an impor- 
tunate sheriff. 

My confrere gladly accepted the proffered assist- 
ance, and we worked harmoniously together until 
every wounded man had been properly attended to 
and sent to the rear in passing wagons and ambu- 
lances. So absorbed had we been in the work before 
us that we utterly failed until left free by its com- 
pletion to realize the difficulties of the situation, 


and then awakened to the consciousness that we were 
entirely deserted by our comrades^ with the alter- 
natives before us of walking thirty miles to Golds- 
horough — foot-sore and fatigued as we w^ere — or of 
waiting to be captured by the enemy, whose arrival 
was every moment to be expected. 

While hesitating between the horns of this di- 
lemma, and in a state of infinite perplexity, we 
w^ere suprised by the apparition of a horse — with- 
out rider, bridle or saddle — walking quietly toward 
us from the direction of the town. Rushing to the 
gate, we opened it, drove him in, and secured him 
without the slightest difficulty. In fact, he seemed 
lonely and to be delighted with human companion- 
ship, while we were reciprocally charmed to make 
his acquaintance. 

Then, opening the door of the '' carriage-house" 
— for '' our right there was none to dispute" — we 
found within it an old-fashioned buggy, with an 
antiquated harness stored beneath its seat. The 
Good Lord seemed indeed to be with us, and the 
children of Israel could scarcely have beheld the 
''parting of the waters" in their behalf with more 
delight that we experienced at this timely capture 
and pertinent discovery — this providential presen- 
tation of the means of escape from the perils and 
embarrassments of our position. 

With hands trembling with excitement, and ears 
on the alert for the '' Yankee cavalry," we ran 
the vehicle into the yard, attached the horse to it, 
and drove oflp toward home and liberty with a shout 
of triumph and a prayer of thankfulness, the 
happiest men in "the land of Dixie." 

As our steed proved to be a famous "goer" we 
soon overtook the column of fugitives, which had 
been swollen by such a number of refugees with 
their flocks, furniture and household goods gener- 

326 A doctor's experiences 

ally that it offered a serious impediment to our 
progress, and the cocks were saluting the dawn 
when we entered Goldsborough. Driving immedi- 
ately to Gregory's Hotel, we gave our jaded horse 
to the hostler, with promises of rich reward for the 
most kindly care of him, and then, retiring to our 
beds, we slept for many hours — the sleep of the 
weary and the rescued. 

Late in the afternoon I awoke from my protracted 
slumber to find the town in a state of great com- 
motion. Foster, elated by his success at Kinston, 
was pushing on to Goldsborough, apparently intent 
upon invading the State and taking possession of 
Kaleigh. Trains were arriving constantl}^, bring- 
ing regiments from a distance ; horses were neigh- 
ing in every direction ; tents were pitched and 
artillery parked in the public squares ; wagons and 
ambulances were peipetually rolling through the 
streets ; couriers with anxious mien and foaming 
horses were dashing to and fro, and everything 
indicated the anticipation of serious work and an 
effort to prepare for it. I also learned that Gen- 
eral G. W. Smith had arrived and assumed com- 
mand of the department, which looked like ^' busi- 
ness," and that, too, of an important character. 
I hurried, therefore, to Raleigh, to report to the 
Governor, and obtained permission to return to 
Goldsborough, so as to take part in the events 
which seemed likely to transpire there. General 
Smith was an old and valued friend, for I had 
always been one of his enthusiastic admirers, and 
he received me most kindly, saying at once : " You 
are the very man I was looking for. You must 
serve as my medical director. Get to work at 
once, and make arrangements for a severe fight 
to-morrow ; for, though it is the last thing I want 


at present I think Foster will have sense enough 
to force it." 

^'But, my dear General," I answered^ ''the 
thing you propose is out of the question. I am a 
State officer and the Confederate surgeons would 
reject my authority and hate me for the remainder 
of their lives." 

He would listen to no excuse, however, and had 
the order issued instantly ; and, when certain of 
my confreres came to protest against it he silenced 
them by saying : ''I am here in the interest of 
North Carolina, and I shall exercise the discretion 
of utilizing the best materials which I find around 
me. You must either resign or submit to my 
orders. I shall arrest the first man who manifests 
the slightest spirit of insubordination . " 

These decided words had the desired effect, and 
the protestants were awed into obedience, though 
they consoled themselves with an undying hatred 
of me ; for professional jealousy is ever as unjust 
as it is vindictive, and assails whatever it finds in 
its way without a question as to the justice of its 

I devoted myself diligently to the work of pre- 
paring the medical department for its expected 
labors, and joined the General's staff as he rode to- 
ward the field so as to be the better able to take in 
the whole situation and to act intelligently in re- 
gard to it. As we rode along 1 met one of the 
surgeons who had shown so rebellious a spirit in 
regard to my appoiutment, and, by way of testing 
his metal as well as of making him useful, I ordered 
him to follow me. His brow contracted and his 
cheek blanched, but he bowed in acquiescence, and 
turned his horse toward the expected battle-field. 

Diverging from the main road after having 
crossed the county bridge, the General pushed 

328 A doctor's ■ EXPERIENCES 

through a narrow strip of wood — where the presence 
of several dead bodies showed that our picket line 
had been posted — and rode into the plain beyond. 
Here one of the most magnificent panoramas pre- 
sented itself that can be conceived of. Behind the 
railroad embankment — from the bridge to the point 
at which it intersected the level plain — the Confed- 
erate troops were drawn up in line of battle with 
their guns at "ready arms,"~their artillery in 
position, and their battle-flags floating in the wind, 
and in the distance were large masses of the enemy 
with the '^star-spangled banner'"' waving over 
them, bands playing '' Yankee doodle," and end- 
less batteries of artillery tiring rounds of shot and 
shell, while their polished -gun barrels and bayonets 
glittered in the rays of the setting sun like "errant 
stars arrested there." Impressed by the specta- 
cle. General Smith paused in midfield, and exposed 
as he was and as conspicuous as his uniform and 
retinue made him, gazed long and earnestly upon 
it. I turned to observe its efi'ects upon my ambi- 
tious confrere, but only in time to catch a glimpse 
of his horse's tail as he disappeared in the copse 
from which we had just emerged. Whether his 
nerves were too weak for " the racket" or impor- 
tant business called him to the rear, I never knew, 
but I could not refrain from directing the attention 
of my comrades to his disappearance and joining 
in the hearty laugh with which they greeted it. 
Wisdom if not valor was certainly displayed by the 
fugitive, for during the next half hour we had to 
indulge in the pastime of following our chief as he 
rode up and down the line in full view of the enemy^ 
a target for artillerymen and sharpshooters. Sud- 
denly dark clouds of smoke were seen to issue from 
the bridge — which had been daringly fired by a 
party of volunteers from Foster's army — and the 


Federals giving cheer after cheer and firing a few- 
rounds of shell and solid shot, disappeared from 
view, satisfied with their achievements and believ- 
ing themselves heroes. There were two sides to 
the question, how^ever. With a hastily-collected 
and imperfectly organized force of some six or eight 
thousand men. General Smith succeeded in check- 
ing the advance of Foster's disciplined army of forty 
thousand experienced troops, thus saving the State 
from invasion and its capital from destruction ; and 
he was willing enough to sacrifice a bridge — which 
was reconstructed in a few weeks — to the risk of 
the unequal contest which would have followed an 
attack on his command. 

The truth is, the bustle and parade which had 
been made at Groldsborough had for its object the 
production of an exaggerated idea of the force as- 
sembled there, and the bridge was really used as 
^'tub to the whale" at the same time, with the re- 
sult of so deceiving General Foster and satisfying 
his army that he immediately retired. 

No more raids or invasions were attempted until 
Sherman came with his victorious legions, though 
we occasionally had rumors of them. The militia 
colonel of Wayne County, though a devoted Con- 
federate, was one of the most excitable and sensa- 
tional of men, and he was constantly informing 
the Governor of advances upon the part of the 
enemy, which fortunately were confined to the 
hmits of his own imagination. On one occasion, 
as I well remember, he telegraphed in these im- 
pressive words: '^To his excellency, Governor Z. 
B. Vance. The enemy is advancing, Wayne is 
ready." To which the Governor responded in- 
stantly, and in terms as laconic as explicit : "Col- 
onel Moses, Goldsborough. Fire!" but I hardly 

330 A doctor's experiences 

think the command was obeyed as I never received 
a list of the killed and wounded. 

Much has been said about the barbarity shown 
to Federal prisoners, as I have mentioned already, 
and in justice to my immediate chief, North Caro- 
lina's " great war Governor," I must vindicate 
him from all participation in it by relating two in- 
cidents which came under my immediate notice. 

On one occasion, while passing through Salis- 
bury, I made it a point to visit the prison there in 
order to ascertain for myself the condition of its 
inmates. I found it overcrowded, dirty and poorly 
provided in every way ; while the prisoners were 
surly and insubordinate to the last degree even in 
the midst of their squalor, filth, and wretchedness. 
I attempted to talk kindly to them, commiserating 
their lot and promising assistance ; but they only 
answered mockingly and in the most insulting 
terms. On \nj return to Raleigh, I told Governor 
Vance of my visit, and gave him a true account of 
the forlorn state in which I had found the prisoners, 
as well as of the resentful and rebellious spirit 
which pervaded them. '^Poor fellows," said he, 
''I pity them from the bottom of my heart. It 
is true that the Confederate authorities give them 
the same rations as their own soldiers, and that 
the United States Government is mainly responsi- 
ble for their condition by refusing an exchange 
when we have declared our inability to properly 
provide for prisoners, but I can't help feeling 
sorry for the unfortunate creatures themselves. 
There may be no law but that of humanity for 
it, but I shall devote some of the stores belong- 
ing to the State to their relief. You must send 
them from your depot such supplies as they re- 
quire, and I will instruct my commissary general 
to do the same." 



1 shall only be too happy, Grovernor, to carry 
out your wishes," was my answer ; and a liberal 
supply of stimulants, medicines, hospital stores, 
blankets and shoes was immediately forwarded to 
the Salisbury prisoners, according to the Govern- 
or's instructions. 

Shortly after the battle of Benton sville I re- 
ceived a telegram conveying the information that a 
train would arrive at a certain hour filled with 
wounded men. I, therefore, immediately ordered 
the surgeons in charge of the Wayside Hospital 
to have prepared and carried to the station a plen- 
tiful supply of coffee, brandy-toddy, meat and 
bread. I also instructed my assistants to be on 
hand at the hour indicated with surgical dressings, 
etc., and to hold themselves in readiness for such 
work as they might be called upon to do. 

Upon the arrival of the train, I found that it 
contained about an equal number of wounded men 
from the two armies — Confederates and Federals — 
occupying alternate cars, and all hungry, ex- 
hausted and suffering. 

Followed by my assistants and hospital attend- 
ants, I entered the first car, and passed consecu- 
tively through them all, giving each sufferer in 
turn food, drink, and such surgical attention as he 
required, without taking into consideration either 
the color of his coat or the side upon which he had 
fought. Should I live a thousand years I shall 
never forget the expressions of gratitude with 
which those stricken men received my ministra- 
tions or the terms of indignation which were em- 
ployed by a number of ''original secessionists" 
— who, instead of idling at the depot, should have 
been in the army fighting the battles which they 
had invoked — because I had presumed to distribute 
to the Yankees the stores which rightfully belonged 

332 A doctor's experiences 

to the State, and to which the Confederate wounded 
were primarily if not exclusively entitled. I was 
attacked so severely for it afterward that I tendered 
my resignation. 

I immediately sought Governor Vance and ex- 
plained the circumstances to him. " Resignation, 
the devil," said he, with that charming frankness 
and kind consideration which have made him the 
idol of so many hearts; '"'you have acted like a 
gentleman and a Christian. Had your conduct 
been different you would have incurred my serious 
displeasure." And, yet, he was the man upon 
whom General Lee relied as his right arm in the 
darkest days of the Confederacy's history, and 
who, though opposed to secession in the premises, 
did more in the end to sustain " the cause " than 
all the carping and dodging ''originals" com- 

In view of these facts, and of many others which 
I could relate if space permitted, it is clear that no 
charge of cruelty to defenseless prisoners can be 
brought against him, and that his record in this 
regard, as in all others, is as pure and stainless as 
the icicle upon Diana's temple. 




My Dear Doctor : 

I was with the Governor when the dispatch ar- 
rived announcing the supreme disaster which had 
befallen G-eneral Lee, and I well remember the 
anguish of mind which it occasioned him. We 
had heard of the retreat from Petersburg, and of 
the arrival of the President and his Cabinet at 
Charlotte ; but we had taught ourselves to rely so 
implicitly upon the valor of the army and the re- 
sources of its commander that the idea of a fatal 
and final catastrophe was difficult to realize. A 
consultation was held the next day in the execu- 
tive chamber, at which the staff of the Governor 
and many of the leading men of the State assisted, 
the object of which was to determine what was 
best to be done toward saving the capital and the 
public property from destruction, as General John- 
ston had uncovered Raleigh and General Sherman 
was advancing rapidly upon it. The Governor im- 
mediately announced his intention to ask no terms 
for himself and to follow the army and the gov- 
ernment to the end. 

It was then concluded to send a commission to 
General Sherman, informing him that his entrance 
into the city would be unopposed, and requesting 
him to take measures for its protection and that of 
the public and private p^roperty which it contained. 

Ex-Governor Graham, formerly Secretary of the 

334 A doctor's experiences 

Navy, and ex-Governor Swain, president of the 
University — two of the most distinguished and 
lionored citizens of the State — were selected as com- 
missioners, while Major John W. Devereux, quar- 
termaster of the State, was designated as the officer 
to conduct the train and to carry the flag of truce. 

Prompted by an inherent love of adventure, as 
well as by a desire to contribute to the success of 
an enterprise which seemed so honorable in itself 
and so important in its consequences, I asked per- 
mission of Governor Vance to accompany the com- 
mission and to be associated with its direction. 
He promptly consented, saying, jocularly : ''I be- 
lieve, Warren, you would volunteer to go to the 
devil if an expedition were started for the domains 
of his Satanic Majesty," and gave me a verbal or- 
der to the end which I have indicated. I expected 
to return in a few hours, and to accompany the 
Governor in his retreat. Indeed, all of my prep- 
arations had been made with that object in view, 
my family having been sent to Edenton, my am- 
bulance with my personal effects having been dis- 
patched to Hillsboro', and my horse being 'kept 
saddled and bridled so that I might start at a mo- 
ment's notice. 

With an engine, a tender and a passenger car 
over which a white flag floated, we left the Ka- 
leigh depot, and soon reached the Confederate 
lines — for a portion of the cavalry had been left to 
confront the advancing army and to watch its 
movements— and after some preliminary formali- 
ties, the train moved on in the direction of the 
Federal pickets. Just as we were on the point of 
entering the hostile lines a Confederate officer was 
observed galloping after us, making signs for us to 
halt, and when we had done so, he informed us 
that President Davis or some hmli official coun- 


termanded the flag of truce, and commanded the 
return of the commissioners. 

As incomprehensible as this command seemed at 
the time, there was nothing left but to obey it, 
and ordering the engineer to reverse his engine, 
we started for Raleigh. I have since learned that 
the President had been induced to believe that the 
object of the mission was to segregate North Caro- 
lina from her Southern sisters and to obtain inde- 
pendent terms for her at the hands of the United 
States authorities ; whereas it was sent, simply 
and exclusively, to prevent the burning of the cap- 
ital, or, in other words, to save it from the fate of 

All doubt in this regard is set at rest by the 
terras of the order which Sherman issued in re- 
sponse to the appeals of the commissioners, for 
they eventually reached him, as 1 shall relate in a 
few moments. It should also be remembered that 
the commission was sent several days suhseque7it to 
the surrender at Appomattox, and afte?- General 
Johnston had announced his purpose to uncover 
Raleigh, and that it started not alone with the 
knowledge of General Hardee — who was then in 
command of Raleigh — but with his entire approba- 
tion^ as is established by the fact that it left the 
city by his authority, and with instructions from 
him that it should be sent through under the pro- 
tection of a regular flag of truce. 

I have been thus particular in giving the facts 
connected with the sending of this commission, 
because they have been entirely misrepresented, 
and the public has never been correctly informed 
in regard to them. It was nothing more or less 
than a patriotic and judicious effort to save the 
capital of the State from destruction, after the 
Confederate authorities had been compelled to aban- 

336 A doctor's experiences 

don it, with a victorious and vindictive army at its 

That which was repudiated as impolitic and im- 
proper was subsequently demonstrated b}^ the logic 
of events to be a measure of supreme wisdom and 
23ropriety, as I shall proceed to establish. 

We had traveled several miles on our homeward 
journey, and were out of the reach of danger as 
Ave supposed, when I was suddenly startled by hear- 
ing shouting and firing in advance of us and by 
perceiving that the train had stopped. Rushing 
to the front door of the car, I beheld a scene and 
had an experience which can never be blotted from 
my memor}^ About one hundred yards in front 
of the train there was a large body of cavalry, 
whose blue uniforms proclaimed them to be Fed- 
erals, and whose presence indicated that they had 
flanked our forces and interposed themselves be- 
tween the Confederate line and the city. 

The moment that I appeared upon the platform 
they fired a volley at me, and then, with Wild 
yells and leveled weapons, came rushing toward 
the train, some directing themselves to the engi- 
neer and others to myself. I escaped death in the 
first instance by instinctively crouching behind the 
tender, and in the second by waving my handker- 
chief in token of surrender, and proclaiming my 
military status, but I certainly was nearer to it 
than at any time in my life. Putting on as brave 
a face as I could under the circumstances, with the 
muzzle of a hundred cocked carbines and revolvers 
pointed at my head and a crowd of desperate cav- 
alrymen cursing and hooting around me, I de- 
manded the name of the officer in command, and 
claimed his protection as a surgeon and a prisoner 
of war. " My name is Godfrey," he said, '' Col- 
onel Godfrey, of General Kilpatrick's slaff. I will 


conduct you to headquarters^ but you niust keep 
near to me, for these are a wild set of fellows, and 
it is difficult to control them." Taking him at 
his word, I leaped from the car so as to " keep as 
near to him as possible," and looking toward the 
other end of the train, I saw the commissioners and 
their suite descending from it, the most forlorn and 
dilapidated-looking individuals that can be con- 
ceived of, for while I had engaged the commander 
in conversation his men had entered the car and 
^' gone through" the entire party. My position 
had been one of great danger, but it had saved me 
from the robbery to which the others were sub- 
jected, and, though I had oue hundred dollars in 
gold about me, as well as my watch and chain, I 
lost nothiug — which was some compensation at 
least for the fearful ordeal through which I had 

We were then conducted to the presence of the 
commanding general, and though I immediately 
informed him who the commissioners were, and of 
the nature of their mission,, pointing to the white 
flag which was still flying over the train, in con- 
firmation of my statements, he affected to regard 
us as spies, and was grossly insulted. 

In the midst of the interview a brisk engage- 
ment began in such close proximity that he was 
ojlad to bring it to a conclusion, commanding as he 
did so that the prisoners should be sent to the rear 
and kept under guard until he had determined what 
disposition to make of them. 

While walking to the rear we encountered a 
number of regiments whose soldiers amused them- 
selves by indulging in rude jests at our expense, 
making the venerable ex-governors their especial 
butts and targets, as they were dressed in long- 

338 A doctor's experiences 

tailed coats and tall beaver hsits, anfe-beUwn relics^ 
which they had especially donned for the occasion. 

But with measured tread and the dignity of 
Roman Senators, the commissioners walked along 
indignant to the last degree, but stately, silent and 
apparently as indifferent to their tormentors as to- 
the ]-ails upon the surrounding fences or to the 
weeds in the neighboring fields. Indecorous as 
were these assaults^, and philosophically as they 
were borne, there was something so essentially lu- 
dicrous in the whole perforrpance that despite the 
time and circumstances I could not help being 
amused or succeed in repressing an occasional out- 
burst of laughter. Every now and then they gave 
me a shot as well, but having less dignity to sup- 
port and more experience with the manners of the 
field to fall back upon, I only smiled in return and 
let them have their fun without comment or con- 
tention. Finally the staff officer in charge ordered 
a halt and bade us adieu, informing us, as he did 
so, of his purpose to seek us later, and instructing 
the guard in very emphatic terms that its exclu- 
sive business was to protect us and to prevent 
our escape. 

As there was a house upon the roadside, we en- 
tered it, and with the permission of the owners 
made it our headquarters while awaiting our fate. 
The house was occupied by two old people, who- 
after years of patient toil had accumulated a few 
comforts for their declining years. They Avere 
greatly frightened at the sudden appearance of 
Kilpatrick and his ^'bummers," but congratulated 
themselves that so far they had been left unmolested. 
We encouraged them to the best of our ability, and 
promised that the guard, which had been left with 
us should extend its protection to them and' to 
their possessions. Fatal mistake ! Vain promise t 


No sooner had the officer returned to his post than 
the very guard upon whose good offices we had re- 
lied fell to work and robbed them mercilessly of 
everything which belonged to them. Deaf alike 
to our protestations and to the appeals of their 
victims, they forced themselves into the house and 
rifled every trunk, chest and drawer that they 
could find, even ripping up the beds and pillows 
in their remorseless search for booty. Such a scene 
of pillage T never witnessed before, and hope never 
to see again, and yet, being without arms and with 
our own lives at the mercy of the desperadoes, we 
were powerless to prevent the outrage or to punish 
its perpetrators. After a lapse of several hours — 
they were indeed long and dreary ones — we were 
1 econducted to General Kilpatrick's presence^ and 
were informed that he had concluded to send us to 
General Sherman's headquarters, which were some 
ten miles distant in the direction of Goldsborough. 
Instead of our special train a hand-car was pro- 
vided for our conveyance, which made the journey 
dangerous and exciting to the last degree ; for a 
portion of the road was supposed to be in possession 
of Hampton, while the remainder was held by 
Sherman. The propulsion of the car was confided 
to two negroes while I was compelled to expose 
myself conspicuously in it for the first half of the 
distance, my uniform being the newest and most 
conspicuous, so as to secure immunity from the Con- 
federates, and the staff officer to take my place for 
the second half in order to prevent an attack by the 
Federals You can imagine better than I can por- 
tray what were my emotions as I stood up in the 
car, and was slowly propelled in the direction of 
General Sherman's army, as it was impossible to 
determine how far my uniform would be respected 
by our side or when it might invite a fire from the 
other — the exact position of the respective pickets 

■340 A doctor's experiexces 

Leing necessarily unknown. For about an lionr, 
therefore, I faced death continuously — expecting 
every instant to feel a ball crashing through my 
body — and all because, in a spirit of adventure and 
from a desire to secure the success of a plan which 
I deemed of vital importance to the State, I had 
volunteered for an enterprise beyond the domain of 
my legitimate department. Ne sutor ultra crepi- 
dam has been the motto of my subsequent existence. 

I do not deny the fact that I was dreadfully nevv- 
ous while thus exposed, though I would rather have 
died than have permitted my companions to know 
the real state of my mind ; and I forced myself to 
appear as cool and collected as if I were simply per- 
forming some routine work in my office. 

Governor Vance tells a story which illustrates 
my own experience in this regard most admirably. 
According to him a rabbit once jumped up before a 
soldier who was in a tight place, and w^ent scudding 
away for its life. Stopping deliberately and watch- 
ing intently the retreating animal, he addressed it 
in this wise : "Go it Molly Cotton-tail! Go it 
Molly Cotton-tail! Go it w^hile you may! — for I 

wish I may be d if I had no more reputation to 

lose at home than you have, there would be a foot 
race between us, you bet." 

The courage upon w^hich men mount the highest 
pinnacle of fame is not that born of insensibility to 
danger, but of a pride of character wdiich dominates 
the fear of death and chains them to the post of 
duty at all hazards and at any sacrifice. 

Genei-al Sherman received the commissioners with 
marked consideration, accepting and respecting the 
flag of truce notwithstanding its previous recall or 
the circuitous route by which it reached him. On 
the following morning he sent them back in the cap- 
tured train, bearing an order commanding the 


soldiers and officers of his army to protect tlie 
city of Raleigh and all the public and private prop- 
erty within its limits, provided that no act of hos- 
tility was committed there against the forces of the 
United States. 

On arriving at Raleigh we were greeted with 
the sight of the burning depot and the announcement 
that the Governor and state officials had departed. 
Having heard of the capture of the train and our 
detention as prisoners of war, he concluded that the 
mission had failed, and at an early hour of the 
succeeding morning he left the city to share the 
fortunes of the falling Confederacy, as he had an- 
nounced his purpose to do in the premises. The 
commissioners therefore placed General Sherman's 
order in the hands of Major Devereux and myself, 
with instructions to use it according to our discre- 
tion, and then attempted to reach their homes 
further west. 

Hurrying to the point whither the mayor had 
gone to surrender the city to Kilpatrick and to 
crave his clemency in its behalf, we arrived just in 
time to stay the hand of that vindictive partisan by 
presenting to his astonished gaze the considerate 
order of his superior. He had no conception of its 
existence until that mDment, and though he" read 
it with a scowling countenance, he wilted under its 
peremptory terms and assumed immediately an air 
of extreme complaisance. In a word, it was thus 
made apparent that the commission had under the 
direction of Providence been made an instrument 
for the preservation of the State capital — had saved 
Raleigh from the fate of Columbia. In the prog- 
ress of events the benefits accruing from it became 
still more conspicuous, for though more than one 
hundred thousand victorious troops, habituated to 
plundering, and with their worst passions excited 

342 A doctor's experiences 

by the unfortunate circumstances of the President's 
assassination, occupied the city for several weeks, 
public and private property was absolutely re- 
spected, and not a citizen was injured or insulted. 

I am proud, therefore, to have been connected 
with this mission, and to realize that it was my 
lot to contribute in some measure to its success. 

Kilpatrick, thus baffled in his vengeance and de- 
prived of his expected booty, sought consolation in 
a grand entry into the city. Accompanied by his 
staff and body-guard and followed by the mayor 
and common council on foot, with flags flying and 
bugles sounding, he marched up Fayetteville street 
and formally took possession of the capital in the 
name of the authorities of the United States. 

An incident occurred, however, on this triumphal 
march which came near cutting short his career, 
and threatened the most serious consequences to 
the city and its inhabitants. 

Just after the cavalcade had passed the Yar- 
borough House two soldiers belonging to Wheeler's 
cavalry rushed out of a store which they had been 
engaged in pillaging, mounted their horses, fired 
at Kilpatrick, and fled precipitately in the direction 
of the retreating army. 

For some moments the greatest excitement pre- 
vailed. The body-guard deployed hastily as skir- 
mishers ; the staff surrounded its chief so as to 
protect him with their bodies ; and the air was 
filled with a din of mingled shouts, commands and 
imprecations. The marauders had fired so quickly 
that, though the report of their guns had been 
heard generally, only a few persons knew precisely 
what had occurred. Having witnessed the whole 
affair, I rushed up to Kilpatrick and explained it 
as rapidly and as thoroughly as possible, and en- 
treated him to remember that it was only an act of 


individual ruffianism for which its perpetrators 
alone should be held responsible. Fortunately, he 
took the right view of the situation, and gave vent 
to his anger by ordering that the fugitives should 
be immediately pursued and when captured hung 
in the Capitol grounds. '' All rights General," I 
said, ''but do not hold the city responsible for 
their act, I implore you." He scowled fiercely and 
said : ''If they are not captured and hung I shall 
hold somebody responsible," giving me a glance of 
intense malignity ; and it really looked as if he 
might expend his vengeance on me or on any one 
who chanced to be in the way if the perpetrators of 
the outrage were not speedily captured and executed. 
In about half an hour I saw the pursuers re- 
turning with the marauders tied to their saddles, 
and I soon ascertained that they were to be hung 
" within ten minutes to the nearest tree " — a judg- 
ment which was immediately executed. 

344 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

I should have mentioned that a few moments 
after my arrival at Sherman's camp an officer aj)- 
proached me, and introducing himself as ^' Colonel 
Baylor," asked : '' Are you Dr. Warren, of Eden- 
ton ?" 

"Yes, and I know you very well by reputation," 
I answered. , 

" You must then be my guest for this occasion," 
he said, and conducting me to his tent, he over- 
whelmed me with kindness — ^treated me not as a 
prisoner, but as a brother in all regards. 

After our separation in Kaleigh I never saw 
him again until a short time since in Paris — 
embracing a period of eighteen years — when I 
hastened ''to kill the fatted calf for him in re- 
turn for his previous kindness. To be thus treated 
when I was hungry, fatigued and depressed by the 
prospects of imprisonment, produced a lasting im- 
pression upon my mind and filled my heart with 
the sincerest gratitude. 

Though a Virginian by birth he remained in the 
United States Army during the war, and conse- 
quently made many enemies among his own people, 
but he is too brave and true a man to have been 
promjjted by other than the highest conceptions of 
duty, and his fidelity to the obligations of friendship 
shows him to be a gentleman by instinct as well as 


by descent and association. There are two things 
aiDout which I make it a rule never to quarrel with 
any man, and they are his religion and his politics, 
however widely he may differ from me or whatever 
the extremes into which they carry him. Ortho- 
doxy or heterodoxy in these regards are matters for 
the supreme intelligence alone, and he who erects 
a standard by w^hich to determine them for others 
simply assumes the role of a bigot and a partisan. 
The road which a man conscientiously believes in 
and persistently adheres to is '' the way" for him, 
and no one has the right to criticise or to question 
him for following it. 

The succeeding days were exciting ones in Ra- 
leigh. General Sherman having received intelli- 
gence of the assassination of President Lincoln, and 
fearing its effect upon the soldiers, called a con- 
sultation of its most prominent citizens, and advised 
with them as to the best means of breaking it to 
the army and of providing against hostile demon- 
stration upon its part, thus showing throughout 
an absolute loyalty to the engagements which 
he had undertaken with the commissioners. 
Thanks to his forethought and promptness of ac- 
tion the danger w^as tided over, and the feeling of 
intense anxiety which pervaded the community for 
many days after that great calamity gave place to 
a sentiment of security and confidence. 

Apart from the conservatism which General 
Sherman displayed in his negotiations with General 
Johnston, there is a page of secret history upon 
which his liberal views toward North Carolina and 
her people are most conspicuously written. 

General Frank Blair took up his headquarters 
in my house with my consent, and in proposing to 
do so he assured me that I might '' go further and 
fare worse" in the way of a guest — that some one 

346 A doctor's experiences 

might take forcible jDOSsession of my premises and 
drive me out of them. I was thus placed in position 
to acquire a knowledge of the efforts which he in 
conjunction with General Scofield made to secure 
the restoration of North Carolina to the Union with- 
out that preliminary process of '^ reconstruction" 
which subsequently proved so prolific of humiliation 
and annoyance to her people. 

Coming home at a late hour one night he said to 
me : " Get pen, ink, and paper and help me to pre- 
pare a document of great importance. You must 
do the writing, for I am fatigued, and do not wish 
my staff to kno^\^ anything about the matter at 
present." I did as he requested, and we prepared 
together an order such as he informed me Sherman 
was disposed to issue, as it conformed with the views 
which Mr. ^Lincoln had recently expressed to him. 

By the terms of that order North Carolina was 
to be immediately restored to the Union without 
the loss of a single element of her sovereignty, and 
with all the machinery of her existing government 
— with Governor Yance in the executive chair and 
his administration re-established in statu quo. 

On the succeeding day the General assured me 
that he had had an interview with Sherman, and 
had exhibited to him the draft of the order which 
I had written, and that he (Sherman) had ap- 
proved of it in every particular, and Avould issue 
it at once. We retired that night with light hearts 
in the full conviction that we had solved the ]Drob- 
lem of reconstruction so far as North Carolina was 
concerned, and had restored the Union of the 
fathers of the republic in all of its original integ- 
rity, only to be awakened on the succeeding. morn- 
ing by the terrible intelligence of Mr. Lincoln's 
assassination and the consequent overthrow of our 
cherished plans. Of course with that dire calam- 


ity staring him in the face, and the succession of a 
man to the Presidency with whose views he was 
unacquainted, and who immediately inaugurated 
the policy of '"'making treason odious," General 
Sherman could not issue the order, and was even 
compelled to recede from. his half completed arrange- 
ments with General Johnston. 

Within a month from that time Governor Vance, 
instead of occupying the executive chair of North 
Carolina, was himself an inmate of the old Capi- 
tol prison, and it was not until after many a long 
year and a terrible experience with arbitrary mili- 
tary rulers, partisan provisional governors, greedy 
carpet-baggers, adventurers, bloody Ku-klux clans 
and a general bankruptcy, that the State regained 
that position in the Union to which the plan inau- 
gurated by Generals Blair and Scofield, and ap- 
proved by General Sherman, would have imme- 
diately secured to her. 

I do not pretend to enter into the question of 
General Sherman's previous conduct, but I can tes- 
tify from facts within my personal knowledge that 
from the day of the visit of the commissioners up 
to that of his departure from North Carolina, he 
displayed a liberality of sentiment, a kindness of 
feeling and a loyalty of conduct which did him in- 
finite honor, and entitled him to be regarded as a 
friend and benefactor of her people. '^Fiat justi- 
tia, mat coelum," 

I witnessed the grand review which he held at 
Raleigh when the final collapse of the Confederacy 
afforded him an opportunity to give free indulgence 
to that love of display which constitutes so impor- 
tant a factor in his singular character. 

Seventeen army corps, each with a full comple- 
ment of cavalry and artillery, marched up Fayette- 
ville street and by the main gate of the Capitol, 

348 A doctor's experiences 

where the General, mounted on his blooded charger 
in grande tenue^ and surrounded by his staff officers 
and major-generals, awaited to inspect them. Each 
man of that vast multitude, in the completeness of 
his equijDment, the precision of his movements and 
in all that constitutes a perfect soldier, looked 
more like a member of some pampered volunteer 
company than a veterarf of a hundred fields, while 
the entire mass seemed endowed with the intelli- 
gence and spontaneity of a vitalized organism. As I 
listened for hours to the tread of these countless 
legions, so complete in their equipment, thorough 
in their organization and admirable in their dis 
cipline — the representative of all that could be 
conceived of ^' the pomp and circumstance of glori- 
ous war" — I could but feel a profound admiration 
for the genius which had perfected such a mighty 
instrument of destruction and conquest, and a su- 
preme realization of the heroism and fortitude 
of the ragged, half-starved and comparatively un- 
organized army which for four years of unequal 
conflict had defied its power, and had finally suc- 
cumbed, not so much to its prowess as to the force 
of circumstances and to the laws of nature. 

And reflecting that the war was over, I forgot 
that these matchless soldiers were our conquerors, 
and my heart beat with a fuller tide and a prouder 
impulse as I, recognized them as compatriots — the 
protectors of a united people and the guardians of 
a common country. 

As my mission was ended and a new regime es- 
tablished I obtained permission to join my family 
at Edenton, and left the capital a sadder and a 
poorer man than I had entered it, but cheered by 
the reflection that I had labored faithfully to dis- 
charge the duties of my position, and had rendered 
some service to North Carolina and her people. 


I went to New Berne by train and thence to Eden- 
ton by steamer, the oath of alleo;iance having been 
demanded by the provost marshal as the condition 
precedent of my embarkation. At the former 
place I was overwhelmed by visits from Edenton 
negroes who had taken refuge there during the war, 
-and who seemed delighted to see me again, as my rela- 
tions with them in ante-bellum days had always 
been most friendly. I was struck with the fact 
that a large majority of the callers were females, 
and on asking an explanation I was informed that 
nearly all the males had been killed at Plymouth 
a few months previously. 

It seems that immediately on their arrival there 
they were put to work on the fortifications, and 
that when the Confederates invested the place the 
women were sent awa}^ in transports and the men 
were forced into the ranks to fight for their liberty 
-and their lives. Scattered like " chaff before the 
wind" by the charge of Ransom's veterans, scarcely 
one was left to tell the story of their annihi- 
lation, for quarter was never given when that 
unfortunate race offered the gage of battle to 
the white men of the South. ^ 

As the poor creatures had mostly been reared 
as house servants, and had no acquaintance with 
manual labor or familiarity with the use of arms, 
the freedom (?) which they sought by the desertion 
of their masters was thus paid for most dearly — 
by dreary lives in the trenches and bloody deaths 
upon the battle-field. 

I had been reared with them and they had been 
my patients for years, and the sad story of the 
"hard lines" and the '^hospitable graves" wdiich 
they found in the Utopia of their dreams wrung 
my heart to its core, accustomed as it was to life's 
sorrows and vicissitudes. To Madam Roland's dy- 

350 A doctor's experiexces 

ing exclamation, "Ah, Liberty, how many crimes 
have been committed in thy name !" there might 
be added with equal truth, ''and what mistakes- 
have been made!" for there is something in the 
term which unsettles men's reason and transforms 
them into fools or lunatics. These negroes were 
slaves but in name^ for they carried the keys and 
were really the masters of the situation, and j^et 
they eagerly fled from the homes in which they 
had been petted, indulged and pampered, that they 
might be free. 

" Lords of themselves, that heritage of woe." 

Pardon me for dwelling on the negro under the 
new dispensation of liberty and equality. I had 
sent with my family to Edenton three negro men 
in whose fidelity I had the utmost confidence. The 
oldest was Primus, and although his skin was 
Ethiopian his heart was as pure as 'Hhe gold of the 
mines." He was the husband of my baby's nurse, 
and he loved "the family" as if it were his by 
blood and birth. So far from rejoicing in the 
freedom which had been " proclaimed" to him it 
only pained his faithful soul to lose his master, and 
he showed even more attachment and attention to 
us than he had done before. In fact he rejected 
the proffered boon of liberty, and clung to his con- 
dition of servitude with unfaltering tenacity. He 
prided himself especially on being a " democratic 
darkey," and went persistently to the polls intent 
upon voting for " Mass Govnor Yance" for every 
office in the gift of the people. 

When questioned in regard to his pertinacious 
support of the Governor, he said: "Well, you 
see, boss, the Governor and me, we sarved together 
in the war, and he is a friend of my master — that's 
enough for old Primus." The weeds of fifteen 


years have grown and withered upon his humble 
grave at the ''Chinquapin Chapel," but I honor 
it as much as if it were adorned by a marble shaft, 
for as good a man sleeps beneath it as ever served 
the Lord or honored a master. 

The second was Gabe, a cadaverous-looking fel- 
low of some eighteen years, who was just the 
laziest and the most affectionate darkey that ever 
rejoiced in an owner. He stuck to me like some 
faithful dog, refusing to work on his own account 
or for any one save his ''master and missus." 
His constitution was delicate, and with no one to 
care for his health or to nurse him when sick — as 
we were separated from him — he soon fell a victim 
to the freedom for which so much blood was shed, 
but only proved to him, as to many of his race, 
a calamity and a curse. Poor boy ! He had a 
kind heart under that mahogany-colored skin of 
his, and as a slave he would have lived a long and 
useful life. Liberty was the last thing that he 
needed or desired, and he died of it. 

The last was called by the classic name of Cupid, 
though I could never trace its origin. He was a 
bright mulatto with nearly straight hair, light 
blue eyes, regular features, and a frame possessing 
unusual grace and power. I purchased him just 
before the war, not that T wanted him particularly, 
but to keep him from being separated from a 
mother who loved him dearly, and appealed to me 
in moving terms to save her son from the hands of 
a "negro-trader." I was much attached to this 
young man, trusting him in all things and believ- 
ing him to be specially devoted to me and mine. 
The first thing that I learned on my arrival at 
Edenton was of his desertion of my family and 
the insolence of his manner whenever he met them. 
When I questioned Primus and Gabe in regard to 

352 A doctor's experiences 

his conduct they informed me that he bad always 
been ungrateful ; that he was inherently a rascal, 
and that he had avowed his determination to insult 
me so soon as he found tbe opportunity by way of 
showing himself a free man and the equal of any 
one. Old Primus added: '^ You see, masser, you 
is a white man and you can't thrash dat ar darkey 
like fore de war times, while de gun-boats is in de 
bay and de Yanks is a prowlin' aroun', but little 
Gabe and I is niggers and we kin do it for sartin. 
So if you say the word, we'll just give him sich a 
good old-fashioned trouncin' as he never bad in bis 
life." "No, Primus, I would not have you touch 
him on my account, but just give him a warning 
from me : Tell bim gun-boat or no gun-boat, 
Yanks or no Yanks, if he dares to address one in- 
sulting word to me I will give him my horse-whip 
if I am bung for it tbe next moment.'' Alter tliat 
he avoided me, but I was provoked immeasurably 
by his conduct on the afternoon of my departure 
from Edenton. I went upon the little steamer 
which was to convey me to Norfolk, and Primus 
and Gabe were busily engaged with my trunks 
when Cupid made his appearance accompanied hy 
some half dozen of his friends, all very drunk. He 
and they commenced by jeering at Primus and 
Gabe for their attentions to me, addressing them in 
the most insulting terms and bantering them for 
a ^' fist fight." Growing bolder at length they in- 
terposed between the steamer and my trunks, and 
swore that they should not be carried on board. 
Seizing a club, I sprang ashore, intending to 
settle tbe matter summarily, but my faithful friends 
were in advance of me, and in a moment they were 
wielding two good hickories which they had pre- 
pared for tbe occasion, and with so much efi'ect that 
the intruders were driven back precipitately, wbile 


my faithful friends were left masters of the field. 
Assisted by some other sympathetic darkeys, they 
soon liad the trunks on board ; and with a liberal 
reward to them and a friendly shake of their hon- 
est hands I bade them adieu, and started out to re- 
trieve my shattered fortunes — to recommence the 
battle of life. I never saw the traitor again, but 
I heard that shortly afterward he shipped in a ves- 
sel for New York, and some six years subsequently 
I received a letter from his mother asking for some 
intelligence respecting him, as from the day of his 
departure he never had been heard of. I have no 
doubt that he ended his days in a penitentiary. 
Since then I have had no opinion of mulattoes, be- 
lieving that, as a general rule, they inherit the 
vices of the white man without the redeeming vir~ 
tues of the negro. 

I have referred to the presence of the gun-boats 
in the bay, and I must take this occasion to men- 
tion the courtesy which their officers extended to 
me. Immediately on my arrival Captain Sands — 
the paymaster of the fleet — accompanied by several 
officers called to pay their respects, and from that 
time forward the most cordial relations existed be- 
tween them and myself. Commodore McComb 
overwhelmed me with civilities, and he and all 
connected with him manifested their warmest sym- 
pathy for us in connection with the unnatural will 
to which I have referred in another portion of this 

During the entire period of the war and for 
some months afterward, the sounds and rivers 
of the eastern section of Nortli Carolina swarmed 
with gun-boats, and their officers were brought into 
daily association with our people, and I am proud 
to record the fact that their conduct was universally 
kind, just and considerate. Both at home and 

354 A doctor's experiences 

abroad I have had an ample opportunity of form- 
ing a proper estimate of the officers of the United 
States Navy, and I have no hesitation in saying 
that J as a class, they are an ornament to society 
and an honor to their country — that they are es- 
sentially and pre-eminently gentlemen. 

I do not like to describe Eden ton as I found it 
after the war. It had 2:»reviously been known as the 
"Athens of North Carolina," renowned for the 
education, culture, and high tone of its people, and 
beautiful beyond compare in luxuriant gardens, 
shaded streets, drooping cyj^resses, grassy greens, 
and tasteful mansions. Besides, I never knew a 
place in which public sentiment possessed so healthy 
and vigorous a tone ; where virtue, decency, and 
respectability were so highly esteemed, and whose 
social lines were drawn with such absolute sharp- 
ness and unfailing accuracy. 

Though not a hostile gun was fired within its 
limits, the war completely changed its character 
and aspect. It mingled and remolded its social 
elements ; raised up a multitude of pretentious 
oracles in place of a unique and dominating public 
sentiment ; destroyed the prestige and the spirit of 
its people, and transformed the place into a mere 
specter of its former self. Four years of peril and 
apprehension silenced the voice alike of religion, 
law, taste and social obligation, and left it chaotic 
and perturbed in all regards. 

As conspicuous as had been the part which I had 
played in the community, and as great as were the 
services rendered both by my father and the rector, 
I found myself almost forgotten there — a veritable 
fossil of some traditional period — with scarcely an 
acquaintance to confer with or a friend to depend 
upon. I felt, indeed, like a second Rip Van Win- 
kle, with everything strange around me, and I the 


strangest of them all. When human nature is 
removed from the restraints of society, and left to 
the domination of its own inherent selfishness — to 
the pursuit exclusively of its individual ends and 
interests — it straightway becomes callous, con- 
tracted and contemptible in a manner and to. a 
degree that no previous calculation can determine, 
and only a personal experience can appreciate. 
This has been my experience, and I record it as 
such for your edification. 

It is but jast to say, however, that the old place 
has gradually recovered from its physical prostra- 
tion and its moral debasement, and is rapidly re- 
gaining its pristine character and its wonted at- 

356 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

I left Baltimore occupying a conspicuous position, 
in the possession of independent means, the idol of 
an enthusiastic class, the pet of an admiring com- 
munity, and with everything in life wearing the 
freshness and glamour of a May morning. I re- 
turned to find myself dispossessed of my chair, be- 
reftof my property, forgotten by my pupils, ignored 
by my friends, and with everything around and 
before me covered with the blight and gloom 
of December. 

On many a morning I awakened to the conscious- 
ness that I had not a cent of money in my pocket, 
nor a crust of bread in my house. Poverty, nay, 
a,ctual want stared me in the face for many an anxious 
month. Because we had decent clothes to wear 
few realized that we were suffering for the neces- 
saries of life — for food to eat and fuel to keep us 
warm. Without means, annoyed by the demands 
■of pretended creditors, importuned for assistance 
by still more impoverished relatives and comrades, 
having no friends upon whom I could call for assist- 
ance, and almost maddened by the pressing neces- 
sities of those who were nearest and dearest to me, 
my life at that period was simply a prolonged 
agony — an existence whose component elements 
were clouds, darkness and despair. I was saved 
from utter failure — from the poor-house or the basin 


— by the kindness o^ four persons upon whom Iliad 
no claim luhatever, but who in the providence of 
God came to my rescue in that dire extremity, 
Yotc sought me, and by your kind sympathy, your 
brave and self-sacrificing championship, inspired 
me with the courage to breast the storm and to 
defy its power. General Boiverman, a Federal sol- 
dier whose house adjoined my own, by sending us 
food daily in the guise of delicacies for a sick child, 
actually saved us from starvation. Mr. Daniel 
Dorsey, the proprietor of Barnum's Hotel, also 
proved a friend. Having had the good fortune to 
attract his attention by some happy cures among 
his guests he gave me the practice of his house,, 
which furnished enough of ready money to supply 
my most pressing wants. And, finally, my 
old friend, Joseph 31. Levy^ the gambler of the- 
Sweet Chalybeate, appeared upon the scene and 
played the role of a faithful and a most liberal 

He owed me an account for professional services 
rendered before the war, and I sent an agent to 
hunt him up and to ascertain if he was sufficiently 
"flush" to permit him to settle with me without 
embarrassment to himself. My agent informed me 
that he had no difficulty in finding him, and that 
when he presented my bill tears came rolling into 
the old fellow's eyes, and he said: "What! has 
my old friend and physician turned up at last ! 
Thank God for it ! Of course I will pay the bill. 
I would do so with pleasure were it ten times as 
much. Take the money to him with my comiDli- 
ments, and tell him that I shall call on him to- 

Sure enough^ he presented himself on the next 
day, and so well dressed that I hardly recognized 
him as he rushed into the room, threw his arm& 

358 A doctor's experiences 

around me, and exclaimed: ^' Thank God that I 
have lived to see you again, my dear, dear friend!" 
I was greatly touched by the old man's kindly 
greeting, and I begged him to be seated and to tell 
me what he had been doing with himself during 
the long years of our separation. ^' What have I 
been doing?" he answered, ''why, I have been 
getting rich. While you have been throwing your 
time and your money away in that devilish war 
the good Lord has been taking care of me — He has 
been putting enough money in my pocket to make 
me comfortable for the rest of my days. And, be- 
sides, I have been getting me a new wife, my old 
one having died soon after you left town of cancer 
of the stomach, according to your prediction." 

Upon questioning him further, I ascertained that 
his brother. Commodore Levy, had died two years 
previously, leaving a will which divided the whole 
of his fortune between the United States and the 
State of Virginia ; that the will had been set aside 
by the courts for indefiniteness ; that the real 
estate was soon to be sold and divided, and that 
the portion coming to each of the heirs-at-law 
would not be less than forty thousand dollars. 

" Yes, at least forty thousand dollars, my dear 
friend, and I shall be ready to divide the last cent 
with you," he added with an earnestness which 
made my heart leap. 

'' With me!" I said. " Divide with me ! What 
in God's name have I done to merit such gener- 

'' You treated me like a gentleman when every 
one else turned his back on me. You saved my 
life when I was at the jumping-off place, and as 
long as I have a cent it belongs to you as much as 
it does to me," he answered. 

" But what will your new wife say, my friend?" 


'' Oh, she married me when I was a poor man, 
and she will be satisfied with what I give her ; be- 
sides, I shall have enough for both of you," was 
his reply. " By the way," he went on to say, " I 
am not overflush at present, but I have brought 
fifty dollars for you, supposing that you were hard 
up. In three weeks I shall have my property and the 
next day I shall send you a thousand dollars to help 
to keep the pot a-biling until you can get into busi- 
ness. The fact is, I am going to help you, and I 
don't care a cuss what you or anybody else may 
say on the subject. Where is your good wife? I 
want to see her, too." 

'' Mr. Levy," I said, blubbering like a baby, "I 
don't know how to thank you. You can never 
comprehend what^a service you have rendered me 
— even by a loan of fifty dollars — what a load you 
have taken from my heart by your great kindness, 
your unlooked-for and most princely generosity. 
You will find me a friend, and a most grateful and 
devoted one, to the last day of my life. Let me 
€all my wife ; she will be as grateful as I am." 

My wife came into the room and greeted the old 
man in that sweet, kindly way which belonged to 
her ; and I shall never forget the smile which 
illumined her face, as with great drops standing in 
her eyes, she glanced for a moment toward Heaven 
in mute but eloquent gratitude for the succor which 
had so unexpectedly come to us in our hour of su- 
premest adversity and trial. "Bless you! God 
bless you, Mr. Levy !" she exclaimed, as she ex- 
tended her hands to the old man in token of her ap- 
preciation and thankfulness. 

Alas for human calculations ! In a day or two 
after this interview he was seized with a malady 
which defi.ed my skill, and died within a week — 
before he had come into his inheritance. He did 

360 A doctor's experiences 

not forget me, however. On the day preceding 
liis death he made a will, in w^hich, after bequeath- 
ing two-thirds of his property to his wile, and 
leaving several legacies to charitable institutions, 
he divided the remainder equally between another 
old friend and myself. He supposed that he had 
given me at least five thousand dollars, and he 
died consoled and tranquilized by the reflection 
that he had saved me from want and had started 
me in life. This gift would have been, indeed, a 
god-send, could I have obtained possession of it at 
that moment, but it was otherwise ordained. Mr. 
Levy's heirs-at-law, a brother and sister, w^ho had 
profited equally with him by the indefiniteness of 
the Commodore's bequest and who had not been 
on speaking terms with him for ten years, were in- 
duced to contest this will; and it was only after 
several years of annoyance and delay that the case 
was decided. Of course, the will was established 
as soon as it could be discussed upon its merits, and 
I received my long-expected legacy, but greatly 
reduced^ as at least one-half of the estate was con- 
sumed in court expenses and lawyers' fees. Noth- 
ing could have been more unjust than this contest, 
as its instigator well knew in the premises and as 
was made apparent in the trial of the case. 

The grounds upon which this iniquitous pro- 
ceeding was based were allegations to the effect 
that the parties were not legally married ; that 
undue influence had been brought to bear upon 
the mind of the testator, and that he was non com- 
pos merdis when the instrument was executed. 
After several years of delay and sundry offers of 
compromise the case was finally called for trial, 
when the wife produced in court not only her mar- 
riage certificate but the clergyman who performed 
the ceremony and a number of persons^who at- 


tended the wedding; while the other grounds of 
contest were so effectually disposed of b}^ the testi- 
mony of many disinterested witnesses that the law- 
yers for the defense found it unnecessary to make 
an argument and the jury requested permission to 
return an affirmative verdict without leaving the 

And yet it was possible for a greedy attorney 
and two unprincipled heirs to institute proceedings 
and to prolong them for three years in the hope of 
obtaining money through the instrumentality of a 
compromise or by the breaking of a will which 
gave the bulk of a man's property to the wife of 
his bosom and was executed according to the strict- 
est requirements of the law. Surely our statutes 
in regard to the matter of wills require some radi- 
cal change, having for its object the restraint of 
hungry attorneys and the protection of defenseless 

Messrs. Wallis and Dallam, the attorneys for 
the will, and splendid gentlemen as well, congrat- 
ulated me on the manner in which my testimony 
was given, and Mr. Steele, who entered the cause 
at a late hour and in good faith, sought my ser- 
vices in another case of importance, saying, in that 
connection: "I have sought you because of the 
manner in which you gave your testimony in the 
Levy case. The story which you then told of your 
relations with that old man was one of the most 
interesting I ever heard, and you are the only wit- 
ness that I have ever failed to shake in a cross-ex- 
amination." "Ah!" said I, '"truth is stranger 
than fiction,' and you had to do with a witness 
who had the facts upon his side, and who was 
pleading for the rights and interests of a suffering 
family. Besides, having had experience as a lec- 
turer, I am accustomed to think upon my feet, and 

362 A doctor's experiences 

am not abashed by having to ^speak in public on 
the stage.' " The best part of the whole matter, 
excepting the handling of the money, was that the 
judge who tried the case — the Hon. Gr. W. Dob- 
bin — became from that time one of my warmest 

The clouds gradually cleared away and the sun 
began again to shine for me ; and the first use 
which I made of my prosperity was to organize 
another medical school in Baltimore. Through 
the influence of Dr. Thomas W. Bond I secured 
the charter of a defunct school, improvised a fac- 
ulty, organized a dispensary, and established the 
Washington University, in opposition to the Uni- 
versity of Maryland. The greatest good fortune 
attended the effort. By establishing a "benefic- 
iary system" with reference to the disabled soldiers 
of the South, large classes were immediately at- 
tracted. By persistent appeals to the legislature 
of Maryland a liberal appropriation was promptly 
secured. By proper representations to the city 
council it was induced to sell us a building admir- 
ably suited to our purposes at a mere nominal 
price. By good management the collector of the 
port was persuaded to give us the contract for at- 
tending the sailors, thus supplying us with abund- 
ant material for our clinics. And by sound judg- 
ment and good diplomacy the school was made a 
success in all regards. In vain was it railed at as 
"Warren's school," a scheme for "personal re- 
venge," and an "eleemosynary institution." It 
stood and grew and flourished with each succeed- 
ing year, and took a high position alike in Balti- 
more and throughout the Union. In this enter- 
prise I was ably seconded by Drs. Byrd, Scott, 
Ford, Logan, Chancellor, Moorman, Claggett and 


Powell, natives of the South and gentlemen of 
character and talent. 

Unfortunately, differences arose in the faculty 
in regard to matters of management, etc., which 
resulted in nay retirement and in the final disrup- 
tion of the school. Nothing daunted, and still 
believing the field an inviting one, I united with 
Drs. Opie, Byrd, Howard, Lynch, Goolrick* and 
Murray — all excellent men — in the organization of 
another school, which we called '^The College of 
Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore," and which 
proved likewise a splendid success, and is to-day 
one of the leading institutions of the country. In 
both of these schools I occupied the chair of sur- 
gery, and with what success you are better able to 
judge than myself. I will only say that my thorough 
training in anatomy by Dr. Davis, of the Univer- 
sity of Virginia, and my extensive surgical experi- 
ience during the war^ greatly lightened my labors, 
a,nd enabled me to secure the confidence and good- 
will of my classes to an extent that was exceedingly 
gratifying to my amour propre and very unpalata- 
ble to my rivals generally. 

Professor Nathan R. Smith, the surgeon of the 
University of Maryland — and a very great surgeon 
he was — could brook no rivalry, and made it a point 
to give me a shot whenever the occasion offered. 
Of course, I returned the fire to tlie best of my 
ability. On one occasion in a public lecture he 
sneered at my clinic as "a comedy — a comedy of 
errors. " On the day succeeding, when a number of 
his students were present, I referred to the remark 
and said : ^' Since histrionic comparisons have been 

*To Dr. Goolrick, who is now a successful practitioner in the 
city of Washington, I desire to return mj^ sincere thanks for 
some recent favors, in connection with which he showed 
himself a faithful friend and an able coadjutor. 

364 A doctor's experiences 

invited, the clinics of the vieillard of the University 
remind me of tragedies — they always culminate in 
a death," referring to the ill success wliich had 
attended some of his operations. This remark 
brought down the house tremendously and ban- 
ished the visitors for the remainder of the session. 
I struck a blow for which I was never forgiven. 

In the whole of this controversy I was prompted 
by no feelings of personal malignity — though God 
knows I had sufficient justification for it — but by a 
spirit of rivalry such as the occasion warranted and 
was legitimate in itself. Can you say as much for 
my opponents ? I fear not, my friend, as you came 
near losing the friendship of one of the most promi- 
nent of them by your manly championship of me. 
Of one thing I am convinced as my mind reverts 
to that time and its incidents : every moment which 
was thus given to medical instruction and to col- 
leoje mana2:ement was absolutelv wasted so far as 
my most essential interests were concerned. I 
should have been happier then and richer now if I 
had devoted myself exclusively to the study and 
practice of medicine. It is difficult to serve twa 
masters, and the physician who devotes himself 
either to talking politics or to teaching medicine is 
to that extent faithless to his proper calling — the 
healing of the sick and the accumulation of means 
for his family. The advice which I would give to 
a young physician stai^ting out in his career is to 
avoid both the political arena and the lecture room 
if he desires substantial professional prosperity. 
These side issues in medicine may pay in ephem- 
eral glory, but not in substantial success and ^'ple- 
thoric bank accounts.' ' And yet there is something 
in the title and the prerogatives of a professor 
which is wonderfully fascinating, as I know from 
experience and observation. When a man has 


made his mark and accumulated a competency, a 
college chair is a very coDifortable place for him to 
end his days in, but until then it is best to avoid 
it, as you have had the good sense to do. 

By way of episode I give the incident related 
below, believing that though rather out of place it 
may not prove uninteresting. 

During the retreat of General Johnston's army 
through Raleigh, I was requested to visit a Con- 
federate officer who lay wounded at the house of 
Major Devereux, a short distance from the city. 

I found him a remarkably handsome young 
fellow, from South Carolina, and the brother of a 
distinguished cavalry general who has since played 
a conspicuous part in the politics of that State. 

He had been wounded a few days previously by 
a conical ball, which passed through the upper arm 
immediately above the elbow joint, and he was re- 
duced to the last degree of prostration by repeated 
hemorrhages of the most profuse and uncontrollable 

Of delicate organization, enfeebled by forced 
marches and insufficient food, and almost exsan- 
guinated. I found him with a rapid and scarcely 
perceptible pulse, bathed in a clammy perspiration, 
and almost in a state of positive collapse. 

It seemed indeed as if death had already claimed 
him for its own, and that he had but a few hours to 
live, though his intellect was unclouded, and there 
was a glint in his clear blue eye which told of a 
hopeful nature and an indomitable spirit. 

The surgeofi in attendance, having in vain at- 
tempted to prevent the recurrence of the hemor- 
rhage, and realizing that he could not spare the 
loss of an additional amountof blood, had determined 
to ligate the artery above the wound, and I was 

866 A doctor's experiences 

called in to determine tlie propriety of the operation 
and to assist in its performance if necessary. 

'' His condition is desperate," I remarked, when 
we had retired for consultation. 

^'That is undoubtedly true," responded my 
colleague, ''and prompt interference is necessary 
to give him a chance for life. The artery is severed 
and must be tied or he wdll certainly bleed to 
death . ' ' 

" Have you made a thorough examination of the 
wound? Are you sure that the bone has escaped in- 
jury ? Are you convinced that an amputation is 
unnecessary ?" I inquired. 

" No, Doctor, I have not made a thorough ex- 
ploration of the injury. He has positively refused 
to permit me to make an examination. The profuse 
and repeated bleeding shows what we have to deal 
with, and establishes the indication for treatment," 
he answered. 

" But^ suppose that together with the severance 
of the artery there is a compound and comminuted 
fracture of the humerus, involving the articulation, 
would it not be better to ascertain it, and to am- 
putate the limb rather than tie the vessel? My 
impression is that if Captain B. survives, he will 
go through life wdth an empty sleeve — that sooner 
or later he must lose his arm. The proper course 
is to get ready either to ligateor to amputate, then 
to put him under the influence of chloroform, and 
after having determined the precise nature and ex- 
tent of the injury, to perform the operation which 
the circumstances of the case demand. I think we 
shall end by amputating the arm. Doctor," was my 
rejoinder. My suggestion was adopted, with the 
result of discovering — as I had predicted — a com- 
pound comminuted fracture of the humerus, involv- 
ing the articulation, and surrounding it a pultaceous 


mass of devitalized tissues, in which the ends of the 
severed artery were unrecognizahle. Amputation 
at a point of election was immediately performed^ 
and though every possible measure of precaution 
and means for bringing about reaction were em- 
ployed, the patient reacted so slowly — so profound 
a condition of collapse ensued — that for a long time 
I thought he would inevitably succumb. He did 
rally, however, in the end, but I left him scarce 
daring to hope that there was a chance for his re- 
covery, believing in fact that death was almost in- 
evitable under the circumstances. 

The two succeeding days were spent, as I have 
previously related, in the society of Sherman and 
Kilpatrick, but I sent a messenger so soon as cir- 
cumstances would admit to inquire concerning his 
condition, and you can judge of my astonishment 
when I learned that at the approach of the enemy 
he insisted upon being placed in an ambulance and 
driven off with the retreating army — -declaring 
that he meant to die as he had lived, a '' freeman," 
and to be buried by his friends " in the old grave- 
yard at Edgefield." 

Some months subsequent to the surrender I was 
seated in my office at Baltimore, when a tall^ hand- 
some blue-eyed young man, with an empty sleeve 
dangling at his side, entered, and with the ex- 
clamation : ''I am delighted to see you once more, 
Dr. Warren," threw his remaining arm around my 
neck, and embraced me in the most demonstrative 

''But, my dear sir/' I exclaimed, "You have 
the advantage of me. I do not recognize you." 

" Don't know me? lam Captain B , whose 

life you saved at Major Devereux's house, just 
before Johnston's retreat." 

368 A doctor's experiexces 

My allusion recently made to law courts reminds 
me to claim some professional triumphs in connec- 
tion with them, which I have always contemplated 
with pride and satisfaction. In one case a poor 
fellow had been arraigned for the murder of his 
wife, to whom I knew him to be greatly attached, 
it being alleged that he had given her a blow in 
his rage at her desertion of him, which developed 
puerperal fever after her confinement. Without 
friends or the means with which to employ counsel, 
he appealed to me for sympathy and assistance, and 
I devoted myself to an investigation of the case 
with the result of rendering the giving of the blow 
problematical, and of proving that the sage femme 
had communicated the disease to the wife. He was 
therefore promptly acquitted, and some time after- 
ward, when the wife of the judge who presided at 
the trial was attacked with puerperal fever, he 
had me called as a consulting physician. It thus 
happened that my intervention resulted in the res- 
cue of the accused from an ignominious death upon 
the gallows, and in securing for myself the confi- 
dence and friendship of Judge G-ilmore, who then 
presided over the Criminal Court of Baltimore. 
In another instance a negro woman had been con- 
victed of the crime of infanticide, and the day for 
her execution had been appointed. At the request 
of Mr. W. H. Perkins — than whom there are few 
more genuine humanitarians — I determined to in- 
vestigate the evidence produced against her, with 
a view of securing the clemency of the governor. 
Having before me a memorandum of the " proof of 
guilt," the accuracy of which was indorsed by the 
State's attorney, I devoted myself to a study of the 
case for an entire week, and then wrote out with 
great care an argument in support of the proposi- 
tion that the child had never breathed, and that it 


had not been subjected to violence. This paper 
was duly submitted to the Executive of the State, 
and upon the strength of it he promptly intervened 
and saved the poor creature's life. He subsequently 
stated that my argument was unanswerable ; and 
few things in life have given me more satisfaction 
than the reflection that I was directly instrumental 
in saving the life of an innocent woman, and espe- 
cially of one who was poor, friendless and for- 

3Y0 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor: 

The other instance in which I can claim to have 
saved a human being from the gallows was the 
famous case of Mrs. Wharton, who was tried at 
Annapolis in the winter of '71-' 72 for the alleged 
poisoning of General Ketchum. Some time in the 
summer of 1871 I was sent for by Mr. Thomas, 
the well-known advocate of Baltimore, between 
whom and myself the following conversation oc- 
curred : 

Mr. Thomas: "Dr. Warren, I have taken the 
liberty of sending for you to ask you a few ques- 
tions, and then to make a request of you. Let me 
begin by asking what you think of Mrs. Wharton ?" 

Dr. Warren: '' I know nothing about her save 
what the papers state, viz: that she has killed 
General Ketchum, and has been arrested for it. I 
take it for granted that she is guilty." 

Mr. Thomas: " Is your opinion of her guilt so 
firmly fixed in your mind as to preclude you from 
making a candid investigation of the medical facts 
of the case ?" 

Dr. Warren : '^I certainly have no prejudice 
against the woman." 

Mr. Thomas : '^lamgladto hear you say so, 
Doctor. I have confidence in your judgment, and 
in your courage to maintain your opinions. I want 
you then to do me the favor to examine the facts of 


this case — to investigate them candidly, and in the 
interest of truth and justice alone — and then to in- 
form me of your conclusions. Will you do this 
for me, Dr. Warren?" 

Dr. Warren: '' My decision, Mr. Thomas, will 
depend upon your response to one preliminary 
question. Do you as a man — as a gentleman — he- 
lieve her innocent? Of course as her lawyer you 
€an exercise your own discretion whether to answer 
it or not." • 

Mr. Tliomas: ^'I have not the slightest hesita- 
tion in answering the question. I believe her to 
be absolutely innocent." 

Dr. Warren: " That settles the matter. I will 
make the most searching examination provided 
that you procure for me a written statement from 
the physicians who attended G-eneral Ketchum of 
exactly what they observed in the way of ante- 
-mortem symptoms and post-ynortem lesions. You 
must also give me ample time to make this exam- 
ination, and speak to no other physician on the 
subject until I have made my report. At the same 
time I shall claim the privilege of conferring with 
my friend, Dr. John Morris, for I am in the habit 
of talking freely to him on all subjects." 

He consented to my conditions, and in a few 
days he brought to me written statements from the 
attending physicians as to what they had observed 
at the bed-side and upon the dissecting table. For 
several weeks I devoted myself to an examination 
of the facts thus presented, seeking with an un- 
biased mind and an impartial judgment to elimi- 
nate " the truth and nothing but the truth" from 
them. I then sought Mr. Thomas, and unfolded 
the process of reasoning by which I had arrived at 
the conclusion, that both symptoms and lesions 
2orecluded the loossihility of a death from antimonial 

372 A doctor's experiences 

poisoning, and that it more probably resulted from 
a disease known as cerebro spinal meningitis, which 
had prevailed in an epidemic form in Baltimore 
contemporaneously with General Ketchum's fatal 

Before reading these notes I requested him to 
endeavor to find some defect in my argument, as 
I had been unable to detect one. He heard me 
through with all the powers of his well-trained 
mind directed to the discovery of a flaw in the 
chain of reasoning with which I sought to bind 
together my premises and my conclusion, and when 
I had finished the task, he arose from his chair and 
shook me warmly by the hand, with the exclama- 
tion : "Complete, perfect, unanswerable. Our 
case is won — an innocent woman is saved from the 

^' I am glad you like it," I answered. "To my 
mind it is unansAverable, and I am delighted to 
find that it appears so to you." 

" It is a demonstration and will stand any test. 
I must send for Mr. Steele at once, and then ask 
you to go over the ground with him, for I want 
his mind enlightened and satisfied as mine has 

Mr. Steele entered the room wearing an anxious 
expression of countenance, which even the favor- 
able assurances of his confrere did not dissipate, re- 
marking: " You will have a tremendous array of 
talent against you, Dr. Warren. The current of 
public opinion sets so strongly against Mrs. Whar- 
ton that I can't induce the medical friends' upon 
whom I relied for help to have anything to do with 
the case. But let me hear what you have prepared." 

" I have taken all that you say into considera- 
tion already," I replied, " and T beg you, as I have 
already begged Mr. Thomas, to point- ont any weak 


point — any defective link — in my chain of reason- 


Read on, then, and we shall see," he answered 
rather gruffly, evidently mistaking my great solici- 
tude for rampant egotism. 

He placed his hands behind him and paced the 
room as I read, testing my ever}^ word and idea in 
the crucible of his analytic mind, and when I had 
concluded he turned suddenly and said: "There 
is no weak point in it ; from beginning to end it is 
^s strong as iron ; we shall save her, brother 
Thomas, never mind who the doctor may have ar- 
rayed against him, and whether those I counted on 
€ome up to the mark or not. Now, Doctor, let 
me advise you to keep your argument to yourself 
so that the other side will not attempt to refute it 
in advance." 

'' As for that, Mr. Steele, I am perfectly willing 
to submit it to the hazard of any answer that can 
be prepared against it, for truth is mighty and will 
prevail against the world, the flesh and the devil. 
Nevertheless, I shall take your advice, so as to make 
assurance doubly sure. Let me give some advice 
in turn : be sure to employ the best chemical ex- 
perts that can be found, for the attempt may be 
made to produce the metal and thereby to give a 
practical answer to everything that may be said in 
regard to symptoms and lesions. I am confident 
that there never was a particle of antimony in 
General Ketchum's body, but you must have 
scientific witnesses on hand to expose any trick 
that. may be attempted in that connection," said I, 
as I folded up my manuscript and bade them 
" good morning," duly satisfied with the estimate 
they had placed upon my work. 

As you were present at that exciting trial it is 
unnecessary to enter into details respecting it, and 

374 A doctor's experiences 

I will, therefore simply confine myself to my per- 
sonal experiences at Annapolis. In due course I 
was placed upon the witness stand, and in a lecture 
of several hours' duration I unfolded the argument 
which had already given so much satisfaction ta 
the attorneys for the defense. 

I am sure you will bear me out in saying that its 
effect upon the jury was such as to render the ac- 
quittal of the prisoner almost a matter of certainty. 

I had hardly regained my hotel, however, before 
the lawyers for the defense came to me, and, with the 
gravest of countenances, said : " We have come, Dr. 
Warren, in the first x>^o.ce to congratulate you on 
your evidence, which was the clearest and most logi- 
cal that could have been given, and to our minds is 
absolutely unanswerable, but we have to tell you, 
in the second place, that the other side profess ta 
be as well satisfied as we are, declaring that, as 
subtle and plausible as your theories appear, they 
will shatter their foundation to-morrow — that you 
have unconsciously walked into ' a trap,' with 
which you are to be caught and hung up to ridi- 
cule and ruin in the cross-examination. Are you 
absolutely sure of your positions? Have you an 
idea of what they mean by these confident threats 
— these bold assurances ?" 

"My dear sirs," 1 answered, "it is talk, the 
merest bravado. I am confident of my positions. 
I have weighed, measured and analyzed every 
stone alike of their foundation and their super- 
structure, and they will stand any test. I assure 
you. I know every man with whom we have to 
deal and I am not in the least afraid of their criti- 

" Well," said they, "we are perfectly satisfied 
with the work of to-day, and w^e hope and believe 
that you will sustain yourself to-morrow ;" and 


they tlien retired rather more cheerful in spirit, but 
still very anxious as to the result of the cross-ques- 

First one friend and then another called after- 
ward, each jubilant over what had already oc- 
curred, and yet apprehensive in regard to what 
was to follow ; but I maintained to them all the 
same confident and self-assured manner. 

I made it a point to attend a ball at the hotel that 
night, wearing a smiling countenance, but still an- 
noyed because of 'Hhe trap " which confronted me- 
in the glances and greetings of every one. After 
retiring to my chamber, I remained until nearly 
daybreak poring over my books in search of the- 
snare which had thus been set for my feet, but it was- 
not until after I had slept an hour or two — uneasily 
and without a sense of repose — that I suddenly 
awoke to a realization of the precise point at which 
I had seemingly made &> faux pas ^ and was to be so 
mercilessly impaled by my delighted adversarieSo. 
Dressing hurriedly, I hastened to the court-house^ 
and deposited under the desk which had been as- 
signed to Mr. Steele the materials with which I 
proposed to baffle my over-confident adversaries 
and to transform "the trap" which had been pre- 
pared for me into a "dead-fall " for them, as I felt 
assured of my ability to do. 

When I resumed my place in the witness-stand 
I found the room filled with an audience which 
had especially assembled to witness and enjoy my 
immolation. I perceived, also, that the opposing 
doctors were present in full force, occupying con- 
tiguous seats, their countenances wreathed with 
smiles of anticipated triumph, and their note- 
books spread ostentatiously before them, ready to 
receive the record of my humiliation and disgrace. 
The attorney-general was in the finest of spirits^ 

376 A doctor's experiexces 

liis gray eyes twinkling with fun, his rotund fig- 
ure expanding with jollity, and his every expres- 
sion taking the form of a quirk or a pleasantry. 
The excited crowd seemed in humor for the sport, 
and rewarded his points and bon mots with nods of 
approval or roars of laughter. Indeed, it seemed 
a veritable "field day" tor my enemies, and that, 
like the gladiator of other days, I was doomed to 
be — 

Butchered to make a Roman holiday. 

Mr. Syester soon finished with his playful pre- 
lude, and settled down to the serious work of the 
occasion — the springing of " the trap " which had 
been prepared for my destruction. 

It was somewhat in this wise that the plan was 
developed and carried to its conclusion : 

Lawyer : "■ Did I understand you on yesterday 
to say that Dr. Stille, of Philadelphia, is a recog- 
nized authority?" 

D octor : ' ' Certainly . ' ' 

Lawyer : "Is he not recognized especially as an 
authority in regard to cerebro spinal meningitis?" 

Doctor: " He has written an able work on that 
subject and is recognized as an authority by the 

Lawyer: "After such an admission what would you 
say if I should show you that he differs materially 
from you on an important point relating to that 

Doctor: "I should be greatly surprised, and I 
should be disposed to consider myself mistaken." 

Lawyer: "That's an honest confession, but a 
fatal one ; for with it your grand lecture of yester- 
day and all its magnificent theories and confident 
conclusions fall to the ground, a mass of ruins — 
with a professor and an expert buried beneath 


them. There is a radical difference between you 
and Dr. Stille in regard to one of the most essen- 
tial points in your hypothesis respecting the cause 
of General Ketchum's death. What have you to 
say for yourself- in view of such a contradiction?" 

Doctor: '^I have simply to inquire in what re- 
gard he thus contradicts me." 

Lawyer : '' Oh, I will make it plain enough. I 
will soon show you the grave which j'-ou have dug 
for yourself. Don't be the least apprehensive on 
that point." Here he was interrupted by such a 
storm of applause from the audience that he could 
scarcely proceed. "I hold in my hand," he re- 
sumed, " a copy of Stille's work on cerebro spinal 
meningitis — the disease from which you allege that 
Oeneral Ketchum died . n page — he states emphat- 
ically that this disease invariably leaves behind cer- 
tain definite lesions in the brain and spinal cord. 
No such lesions were found in the brain and spinal 
€ord of Greneral Ketchum, and in order to recon- 
cile that fact with your theory, you stated that cere- 
bro spinal meningitis frequently terminates fatally 
without leaving any lesion whatsoever . There is, 
therefore, a palpable difference between Dr. Stille 
and yourself, and by acknowledging his superior 
authority you admit your oiun error, and you and 
your theory fall together — a common wreck. Your 
evidence, in fact, amounts to nothing, and you 
are caught and crushed in ''the trap" which was 
set for you. What have you to say for yourself? 
Where do you stand now, Professor Edward War- 

It certainly looked as if I had been caught and 
was annihilated ; and it was in vain that the 
judges rapped and the bailiffs cried '^Silence," for 
the audience, transported with delight at my ap- 
parent discomfiture, gave expression to its satis- 

378 A doctor's experiences 

faction in the most enthusiastic applause. When 
order was restored — though the audience continued 
to scowl at me as if I were the murderer — I an- 
swered in this wise : 

Doctor : '''I have only this to say, sir : 1 stand 
just where I stood before. ' The trap ' is not strong 
enough for the quarry. Turn to page — , para- 
graph — , and you will see that Still e states ex- 
plicitly that there are tivo varieties of cerebro spinal 
meningitis, viz : the fulminant and the inflammatory ^ 
and that he proposes to discuss only the latter form 
of the disease. I stated distinctly on yesterday 
that, in all probability, Ketchum died of fulmi- 
na7it cerebro spinal meningitis— that variety of the 
disease which does frequently terminate fatally 
without leaving a lesion behind it. There is then 
no difference between Dr. Stille and myself, and I 
am neither ' caught' nor annihilated. 

' ' In proof of the truth of my position that fulmi- 
nant cerebro spinal meningitis terminates fatally 
without leaving a discoverable lesion behind it, I 
will thank Mr. Steele to open the trunk beneath his 
desk, and to find and read the authorities for this 
statement as I shall indicate them." I then drew 
a paper from my pocket, and called for some 
twenty-five authorities, each stating in the most 
explicit terms that the fulminant variety of cerebro 
spinal meningitis ''frequently terminates fatally 
without leaving an appreciahle lesion either in the 
brain or spinal cord." 

" The trap " which had been prepared for my 
destruction was thus converted into a " dead-fall '^ 
for my adversaries, and my triumph was made com- 
plete while their defeat was correspondingly ren- 
dered conspicuous. 

The disappointed crowd retired in disgust ; my 
baffled opponents folded their note-books and 


looked as if they had been convicted of some 
crime ; the lawyers for the defense beamed with 
smiles of delight and triumph, and in the sorrow- 
ful eyes of the accused there gleamed the light of 
hope and thankfulness. 

The attorney-general then lost his temper, and 
the following scenes followed each other, after a 
few rambling questions : 

Lawyer : " Where would this lead to, Dr. War- 
ren ? " — supposing some hypothetical case. 

Doctor : "I cannot tell, as the hypothesis itself 
is absurd." 

Lawyer : " But you medical men ought to know 
all about these medical matters." 

Doctor: ''I suppose we know as much about 
these medical matters as you lawyers." 

Lawyer: '^ No, sir; you doctors have the ad- 
vantage of us. You bury your mistakes six feet 
under the earth." 

Doctor : " Yes, and you lawyers ha7ig your mis- 
takes in the air," pointing significantly to Mrs. 

This rejoinder was received with such applause 
— despite the prejudice of the audience — that the 
judges were compelled to adjourn the court for 
some moments in order that order might be suffi- 
ciently restored for the transaction of its business. 
Upon the reassembling of the court the cross-ex- 
amination was resumed somewhat in this wise : 

Lawyer : " Dr. Warren, what is to be your fee 
in this case? " 

I had understood that this insulting question 
might be asked if all otlier means failed to break 
me down, and, though almost consumed with rage, 
I restrained my feelings and answered calmly. 

Doctor : "I have never discussed the subject of 
a fee with any one, but when the case has termi- 


nated it is my purpose to demand compensation for 
my services as an expert, inasmuch as the example 
has been set me in that regard not alone by some 
of the best men of this country and of Europe^ 
but hy a medical luitness for the State." 

Lawyer : " Do you mean to sa}'^ that any medical 
witness for the State proposes to charge for his ser- 
vices as an expert in this case?" 

Doctor: "I do mean to sav so most emphati- 

Lawyer : "" Who is he — name him." 

Doctor: " L feel some reluctance in giving his 
name, as you seem to regard his proposed demand 
as so grave an offense. Since you insist upon it, 
however, I have to say that it is the principal 
medical witness for the State. He told Dr. John 
Morris on yesterday that he had been employed by 
the State as an expert with the promise of remun- 
eration, and he also consulted him as to whether 
he should demand five hundred dollars or not." 

Had a bomb-shell exploded in that court-room it 
could not have produced more commotion, and the 
attorney-general, utterly surprised and silenced by 
this most unexpected announcement — for the ar- 
rano^ement had been made by one of his subordi- 
nates — permitted me to retire from the witness 
gtand — not annihilated at least by the rencontre. 

In confirmation of the truth of history I must 
add that, notwithstanding the " card of vindica- 
tion '' which appeared on the succeeding day, a 
bill for one thousand dollars was subsequently pre- 
sented on this account, and its payment vehemently 
insisted upon. It is true that the State resisted 
the demand, and thus rendered this effort to vindi- 
cate the claims of the gallows "a labor of love" 
after all ; but the fact that it was made still re- 
mains, a testimonial to the accuracy of the in- 


formation which you had given me, and another 
illustration of the wisdom of the adage that those 
who live in glass houses should not throw stones. 
It might have been " blood money " which was so 
pertinaciously demanded, but for my intervention, 
and yet it was fairly earned if a faithful and 
prayerful effort to hang a woman can constitute 
the basis of an obligation upon the part of a civil- 
ized state to Christian gentlemen. 

It has been said that I received a large reward 
for thus rescuing Mrs. Wharton from the gallows, 
but such is not the fact by any means. But for the 
intervention of Mr. Thomas, I should not have re- 
ceived a cent, and, as it was, I was not paid for my 
services as an expert a sufficient amount to cover 
necessary expenses, and to compensate for the loss 
incident to an absence of nearly forty days from 
my business. 

So soon as I was released from the witness stand, 
I prepared and sent to the attorney-general a note 
insisting on a public apology for the insulting 
question which he had propounded. 

But there lives no kinder or truer man than 
A. K. Syester, and before my note could be de- 
livered he handed me a scrap of paper upon which 
were w^ritten these w^ords : 

^' If I can do anything to restore the good feel- 
ing between Dr. Warren and myself, which I my- 
self improperly interrupted- — yet not wholly with- 
out provocation — I will be commanded by him. I 
regretted my course the moment it was over. 

''A. K. Syester.'^ 

He arose and said : ^^ May it please your honors. 
In a moment of excitement I asked Dr. Warren a 
very rude and improper question — one that I re- 

382 A doctor's experiexces 

grettecl so soon as the words were uttered. I, 
therefore, take this occasion to express m}^ sincere 
regret at what has occurred, and to say publicly 
that I believe his testimony to have been as candid 
and honest as it was able and scientific." 

I waited for him at the door of the court-house, 
gave him my hand most cordially, and offered him 
a challenge which I never knew declined in Mary- 
land — to join me in '^ forty drops " of the best that 
the hotel could afford. We have been devoted 
friends ever since and such we shall continue to 
the end. As a proof of the kindliness of his feel- 
ings for me I beg you to read the subjoined copy of 
a letter which I received from him on the eve of 
my departure for Egypt : 

State of Maryland, 
Office of the Attorney-General, 

Hagerstown, March 25, 1873. 
My Dear Doctor : 

I cannot describe the unfeigned regret I expe- 
rienced in your loss to us all, especially to me ; for 
although I have not seen and been with you as much 
as I desired, I always looked forward with pleasure 
to some time when our engagements would per- 
mit a closer acquaintance, and become warmed into 
a firmer and more fervid friendship. I dare not 
indulge the hope of hearing from you in your new 
position, but not many things would prove more 
agreeable to me. Present my compliments to 
your wife. That you and she may ever be con- 
tented and happy in life, and that you may be as 
prosperous as your great talents and unequaled 
acquirements so richly deserve^ is the earnest hope 

Your humble but undeviating friend, 

A. K. Syester. 


T hope some day to see him governor of Mary- 
land, for no man conld fill the office with more 
honor or greater ability. 

As an indication of the impression which my 
evidence produced at the time, not only in Annapo- 
lis but throughout the scientific world, I refer with 
pleasure to the fact that I was approached succes- 
sively by the judges, jury and the attorneys for 
both sides, and assured by them that I had saved 
Mrs. Wharton's life, while I received letters of 
congratulation and commendation from a number 
of the most prominent medical men of America and 
Europe. Mrs. Wharton sent for me, and, while 
she and her noble daughter overwhelmed me with 
expressions of gratitude, she charged me to remem- 
ber as a consolation in after life that I had '' served 
and rescued an innocent woman." 

384 . A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

As I have often remarked to you, General Ket- 
clium surely died from some other cause than anti- 
monial poisoning, as the ablest toxicologists of the 
world unite in asserting, and if the accused really 
poisoned any one, she was insane at the time and 
oblivious of it afterward. 

At any rate I acted throughout in obedienge to 
the dictates of my conscience, and, though I have 
had to bear much of obloquy and persecution on 
account of my connection with the case, I have 
never regretted the stand which I made for what 
I conceived to be the true principles of science, and 
the defense of a woman who was without friends 
and in great tribulation. 

The vilest wretch is entitled to the fairest trial, 
and when appealed to "in the interest of truth and 
justice" I determined that she should have one, 
whether guilty or innocent, and whatever might 
be the consequence to myself. 

In attempting to give from memory a history of 
the memorable rencontre between the attorney- 
general and myself, I pretend to no accuracy save 
as regards the substance-matter, of it — nearly thir- 
teen years having elapsed since its occurrence. 

If I have done him the slightest injustice, I 
would repair it by saying that an abler officer and 
a truer gentleman never represented the dignity of 
a State or vindicated the majesty of the law. 


My assertion that cerebro spinal meningitis had 
existed in an epidemic form in Baltimore was vig- 
orously controverted. 

In order to contradict me in that regard, the 
attorney-general introduced a number of repre- 
sentative practitioners from all porti(ms of the city, 
each of whora testified that the disease had not as- 
sumed an epidemic form in Baltimore, and that my 
statement was unsustained by any fact within his 

The attorneys for the defense completely turned 
this battery upon their adversaries. They ex- 
tracted from each witness the admission that sev- 
eral cases of the disease had occurred in«his prac- 
tice, and then, by taking the aggregate of the 
whole number thus reported, showed that cerebro 
spinal meningitis had prevailed extensively in Bal- 
timore ; that there had been, in fact, a serious and 
extreme epidemic of it contemporaneously with 
General Ketchum's death. 

Among these so-called " representative practi- 
tioners" there was one who, by the specially of- 
fensive manner in which he testified to the non- 
existence of the epidemic, invited an attack from 
Mr. Steele^ which he received to his utter humilia- 
tion, as you will remember. Standing erect, with 
a copy of the Baltimore Journal of Medicine in his 
hand, he cross-examined him somewhat in this 
wise : 

Lawyer : '' Do you reside in Baltimore?" 

Witness: '' I do, sir." 

Lawyer: ^'And ^ou practice medicine there?" 

Witness : " Yes, sir." 

Lawyer: '"Are you acquainted with this jour- 

Witness: ^'1 am acquainted with it, sir." 

Lawyer: ''Who is the author of the article 

386 A doctor's experiences 

which recently appeared in it, entitled Cerebro- 
spinal Meningitis ?" 

Witness: " I am the author," stammering and 
trembling as if he had been caught in an act of 
theft or some other disreputable proceeding. 

Lawyer: ^^And you now state here that 
there ' has been no epidemic of the disease in Bal- 
timore/ when only a short time since you deliber- 
ately wrote a paper for this journal, declaring that 
' an epidemic of cerebro spinal meningitis exists at 
this moment in Baltimore/ and relating the his- 
tory of a number of cases which were treated by 
you. Which statement is the true one ?" 

From 'the discomfited and crestfallen witness 
there came no answer, and, with great beads of 
perspiration oozing from every pore of his hyper- 
trophied epidermis, he slank away with the whine 
of a castigated spaniel upon his lips and the ma- 
lignity of a baffled viper in his heart. 

Some months afterward, when the intervention 
of seven thousand miles supplied him with an op- 
portunity to strike back with fancied impunity, he 
read a paper before one of the medical societies of 
Baltimore, in which he charged that ''one of the 
witnesses for the defense (meaning myself) had 
misrepresented the facts of the case to Drs. Taylor 
and Stevenson, of London, and in that way had 
obtained from them ojDinions favorable to his view 
of the case," The paper containing this infamous 
slander was immediately sent to these gentlemen, 
with the result of eliciting from them the follow- 
ing letters in reply : 

15 St. James' Terrace, 
Regent's Park, June 27, 1874. 
Dr. Warren-Bey, Cairo. 

Dear Sir: Your letter dated Cairo, Jane 13, 


has been forwarded to me by Dr. Stevenson. In 
answer to your interrogatories, I beg leave to say 
that I received a copy of the Baltimore Gazette' s 
report of the Wharton-Ketchum trial. It was 
addressed not to me personally, but to the " Pro- 
fessor of Chemistry, Gruy's Hospital." As I had 
resigned the office, the report fell into the hands 
of my successor, Dr. Stevenson, and he had it in 
his possession for some weeks, when he handed it 
to me, as being originally intended for me. 

You did not furnish me with any other statement, 
report or document relating to that trial or any 
other subject. 

You did not, by any word, hint or act, comment 
on the evidence given at that trial, or in any way 
attempt to influence or bias my judgment in regard 
to it. 

The premises for my decision regarding the case 
of General Ketchum were derived chiefly from the 
report of the Baltimore Gazette — sent by you, as I 
now find. 

Taken as a whole, I do not consider that the 
symptoms have any resemblance to those which are 
observed in poisoning w^ith antimony, and a further 
examination of the case has satisfied me that this is 
the only conclusion to which the medical facts lead. 
In the Guy's Hospital report for 1857 I collected 
and reported thirty-seven cases of poisoning with 
antimony. Upon the facts here collected and 
others which have come to my knowledge since, I 
believe that the death of General Ketchum was not 
caused by antimonial poisoning. 

The chemical evidence did not show conclusively 
the presence of antimony in articles submitted to 
analysis for evidence at the trial. There was a 
fatal omission in those who attended on the de- 

388 A doctor's experiences 

ceased in liis last illness : the urine was not ex- 
amined for antimony while the patient was living. 
The only conclusion to be drawn from this omission 
is that those who were in attendance on the Gen- 
eral did not suspect that his was a case of antimonial 
poisoning while he was living and undergoing 
medical treatment, or they willfully neglected to 
adopt the best mode of verifying their suspicions 
and counteracting the effects of poison. 

As before this occasion I have never received any 
letter from you or corresponded with you in any way, 
I must express my surprise that it should have been 
imputed to you that you have in any way attempted 
to influence my judgment. I did not even know 
that you had sent me the report of the Baltimore 
Gazette^ until Dr. Stevenson informed me, long 
after its arrival in England. Yon have my author- 
ity for stating as publicly as you please that such 
an imputation is utterly untrue, and if made by a 
professional man, most unjustifiable. My opinion 
of the Ketch um case was formed apart from all 
local influences and prejudices. Having now had 
an experience of forty-three years in the sub- 
jects of poisoning, and an opportunity of examining 
durino' that period some hundreds of cases, I feel 
myself in a position to act independently of all 
hints and suggestions. To extra-forensic statements 
in a case like this I give no attention. 

I presume the telegram which you quote in your 
letter refers to me. You are at liberty to state in 
reply that no experts for prosecution or defense 
made any application to me in reference to this 
trial, or furnished me with any premises or infor- 
mation respecting it. The whole storj' is a false- 
hood from beginning to end. I see that Dr. Keese 
has been implicated in the matter. I do not know 


him except by name. I never wrote to him, or re- 
ceived any letter from him, respecting this trial. 
I am, yours, very truly, 

Alfred S. Taylor. 

21 Caversham Road, N. W., 

London, July 3, 1874. 

To his Excellency, Warren-Bey, Cairo, Egypt. 

My Dear Sir : I forwarded your letter to my 
colleague, Dr. Alfred Swaine Taylor, F. R. S. , 
and he has handed me the letter which I now for- 
ward to you. I have read it at his request, and I 
can speak with knowledge as to the circumstances 
under which hebecameacquainted with the Warton- 
Ketchum case. In May, 1872, 1 received by post at 
Gay's Hospital a pamphlet, being a reprint from 
the Baltimore Gazette, of the report of the trial. I 
had no knowledge of the case before, and was 
ignorant in regard to the sending of the report un- 
til I came to your evidence, when I found your 
name underlined, with the simple word "compli- 
ments" added in pencil. When I had read, the 
report I handed it to my predecessor in the chemical 
chair. Dr. Taylor. 

My own opinion of the case, from reading the re- 
port, was this : That the chemical evidence broke 
down and did not prove that "twenty grains of 
tartar emetic " were administered to General Ketch- 
um ; and that the symptoms were not character- 
istic of any antimonial poisoning, and might have 
been produced by natural causes. Both Dr. Tay- 
lor and I think that you may fairly disregard all 
attacks upon your character, as every one is liable 

390 A doctor's experiexces 

to them. As for furnishing ^' false data," I know- 
that all you furnished was the Gazette' s report. 
Very truly yours, etc., 

Thomas Stevenson, 
Professor of Che^nistry, 
Guy's Hospital, London . 

In concluding this subject, it is only just to say 
that Dr. Taylor in subsequent editions of his works 
on ''Poisons" and on "Medical Jurisprudence," 
which are the recognized authorities of the civilized 
world, has reviewed the Wharton case, emphatically 
reaffirming the opinions expressed in his letter. 

But if I was victorious at Annapolis I had to pay 
dearly for it in Baltimore. So great was the preju- 
dice against Mrs. Wharton that the public turned 
uj)on me as if I had committed the crime ; I was sub- 
jected to indignities of every description ; my family 
was reviled upon the public streets ; nearly all of 
my patrons deserted me, and I became as impecu- 
nious as in the days succeeding the surrender ; I 
was subjected to a social ostracism that rendered 
life a burden to me and to those connected with me. 
The most absurd stories were circulated respecting 
the amount and the manner of my compensation 
as an expert ; and although I never saw General 
Ketchum or heard of Mrs. Wharton until the death 
of the one and the imprisonment of the other, the 
suspicion gained credence that I was in some way 
implicated in the supposed crime. 

My bank account was pried into ; my every act 
and word was criticised and misrepresented ; and I 
was shadowed perpetually by spies and detectives. 
I had been recommended for the office of coroner 
by a large number of the most prominent citizens 
of Maryland, but my supporters withdrew their 
indorsement and a pliant legislature relieved the 


governor of his embarrassment in regard to my 
promised appointment by changing the law creat- 
ing the office. In a word, every humiliation and 
outrage that insane prejudice and disappointed 
malignity could devise was heaped upon me, and 
■all because, in testifying according to my conscien- 
tious convictions, I had baffled those who so per- 
sistently sought the condemnation of a friendless 

In the midst of these persecutions I attended a 
meeting of the American Medical Association in 
Philadelphia, and had an experience there which 
atoned in a great measure for the outrages to which 
I had been subjected in Baltimore. I was over- 
whelmed with civilities and attentions. Represen- 
tative men from all sections sought me out to 
•express their personal sympathy, and their profes- 
sional concurrence in the position which I had 
taken in the case. They assured me that I was 
sustained by the profession of the country, and 
that I had made a reputation that would survive 
the prejudices of the hour and the machinations of 
those who were seeking my destruction. But they 
went further than mere expressions of regard and 
congratulation. I was made chairman of the sec- 
tion of surgery and anatomy for the ensuing year^ a 
position second only in honor to that of the presi- 
dency of the association. I should have been 
pleased at any time to receive so distinguished a 
compliment, but, coming as it did at that critical 
period in my history — when my heart was chafing 
under a sense of unmerited censure and unprovoked 
outrage — it soothed and inspired me to a degree 
that language is inadequate to portray. Only 
those who have walked through the fiery furnace 
of persecution with a consciousness of rectitude 
appealing perpetually against the injustice of their 

392 A doctor's experiences 

lot, can appreciate the happiness which pervaded 
my bosom in view of this conspicuous mark of sym- 
pathy and confidence — this vindication of my honor 
and loyalty at the hands of the profession of the 
country. I felt that I had been tried and acquitted 
by my peers, and thenceforward I cared no more for 
the insane rabble and the reviling schools than for 
the hissing geese upon the common or the yelping 
curs in the streets. Sustained by the approval of 
my own conscience^ and the indorsement of the 
great body of my confreres, I walked the streets of 
Baltimore with as erect a head and as proud a heart 
as any other honest man within its limits, leaving 
my vindication to Him who is the illustration of 
truth and the embodiment of justice. At that 
meeting I presented to the surgical section of the 
association a new splint for fractures of the clav- 
icle, which attracted much attention, and is really 
an' apparatus of great utility. While it keeps the 
shoulder upon its normal plane and retains the 
fragments in accurate apposition, it permits all the 
movements of the forearm without subjecting the 
patient to inconvenience. It has been tried in a 
number of cases with absolute success. 

And though, perhaps, something of the old pre- 
judice may have been perpetuated by the breath of 
professional jealousy, I lived to see the day when 
I could count among my personal friends many of 
the best people of the city, and could boast of as 
large a class of students and as long a list of pa- 
tients as the most popular of its professors and 

Amid all the trials and difficulties of that pain- 
ful period, when " clouds were dark and friends 
were few," you stood by me with the unfaltering 
fxith and the fond affection of a brother. Circum- 
stances have never permitted me to show the deptli 


of the gratitude wliicli your devotion inspired, but 
I have taught my children to honor you as the best 
of men, and to love you as their father's especial 
Iriend and benefactor . She whose untimely loss has 
filled my bosom with an eternal sorrow had selected 
your name for her unborn babe, and it has thus 
become doubly sacred to me by its association with 
her who is dearest to my soul, and with you who 
have served me with the greatest fidelity. We 
may never meet again, but while consciousness and 
identity remain I shall never cease to remember 
yoar kindness in the day of adversity or to pray 
that heaven may reward your loyalty and devotion 
to me and mine. 

I cannot dwell on the great calamity which finally 
blighted my life in Baltimore, and compelled me 
to seek in other scenes a surcease from the sorrow 
which so oppressed and paralyzed me there. 

Fourteen years have passed since we stood 'to- 
gether at the grave of my darling boy, but the 
wound of that sad bereavement has never healed, 
and will be felt until my heart has ceased to pul- 

After three years spent in a vain and painful 
struggle to command myself sufiiciently for the 
proper performance of my professional duties, I 
followed your advice and determined to remove to 
some other locality, hoping to break the spell of 
sorrow by shifting the scene of my life and labors. 

394 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor: 

I first sought a professorship in the University 
of New York, thinking that a residence in that 
city might serve to distract my thoughts and give 
a zeal to my existence. With that end in view, 
I presented to the dean of the University of New 
York letters of recommendation from a number of 
leading men both in and out of the profession, two of 
which I reproduce because of the eminence of their 
authors and of the specially emphatic terms in 
which they indorsed me : 

Philadelphia, 3Iay 8, 1872. 
My Dear Doctor Warren: 

It is difficult for me to say anything respecting 
one who is so well known throughout the country 
as a gentleman, practitioner and a teacher of medi- 
cine. Any medical school I am sure ought to be 
proud to give you a place in its faculty. As a 
teacher of surgery — off-hand, ready and even bril- 
liant — there is no one in the country that surpasses 
you. As an operator and a general practitioner, 
your ability has long been everywhere recognized. 
Your success as a popular lecturer has been re- 
markably great. As a journalist you have wielded 
a ready and graceful pen. Some of 3^our opera- 
tions reflect great credit upon your judgment and 


skill. Of your moral character I liave never heard 
anything hut what was good and honorahle. 

I hope with all my heart you may obtain a posi- 
tion in one of the New York schools. Your great 
popularity in the Southern States could not fail to 
be of service in drawing Southern students. My 
only regret is that we have no place to offer you in 

Wishing you every possible succesSj I am, dear 
doctor, very truly your friend, 

S. D. Gross, 
Professor of Surgery^ 
Jefferson Medical School. 
Professor Edward Warren, Baltimore, Md. 

University of Virginia, May 18, 1872. 
To THE Faculty of the University Medical Col- 
lege OF New York. 

Gentlemen : It gives me great pleasure to rec- 
ommend to your favorable consideration Dr. Ed- 
ward Warren. 

I have known Dr. Warren from his boyhood, 
and can testify to his excellent character, fine tal- 
ents, indomitable perseverance in the pursuit of 
knowledge and the discharge of professional duties. 

Dr. Warren's attainments are of a high order 
in genuine scholarship. He made unusual profi- 
ciency in moral philosophy, and graduated also 
with distinction in other schools in the University 
of Virginia. 

Of his professional attainments I am not compe- 
tent to judge, but I know that he has been success- 
ful when competition was intense, and I learn from 
others, competent to judge, that he has every quali- 
fication to insure success in the chair of surgery, 

396 A doctor's experiences 

the place which I learn he seeks in your institu- 

Very respectfully, etc., 


Professor Moral Philosophy University of Va. 

Few things have given me mure pleasure than 
these kind and complimentary letters, and I shall 
ever guard them among my treasures. 

Having failed in this effort because no vacancy 
existed in the school, and still appreciating the ne- 
cessity for a change of surroundings, I sought and 
secured a position under the Khedive of Egypt. 

After the American war, with a view of avail- 
ing himself of the military skill and experience 
which it had developed, his highness took meas- 
ures to secure the services of a number of officers 
from both armies, as he was then filled with the 
idea of separating Egvpt from the dominion of 

Happening one day to look from my window I 
saw Colonel Walter Jenifer — an old friend who 
some time before had entered the Egyptian army 
■ — walking up Charles street, looking magnificently 
in a semi-military costume. Hurrying after him 
he gave me a cordial greeting, and returned with 
me to my office to talk over his experience in ''the 
land of the Pharaohs." 

He gave me such a glowing account of the coun- 
try, and of the manner in which the American officers 
had been treated there, that I became immediately 
imbued with the desire to follow his example and 
enter the service of the Khedive. I promptly took 
measures to obtain from my friends generally let- 
ters of recommendation to the American officers 
then in authority at Cairo, and forwarded them 


together with a formal application for a position in 
the medical stafp of the Egyptian army. 

Some weeks afterward I received a letter from 
the war office, offering me the position of chief sur- 
geon of the general staff of the army, with the 
rank and pay of lieutenant-colonel and transporta- 
tion to and from Cairo. I was also referred to Gen- 
eral Sherman, who had been authorized by the 
Khedive to select such officers as were required 
smd to arrange for their transportation. 

I visited General Sherman at once and was re- 
ceived very cordially, as he had not forgotten our 
relations during the war. I told him very candidly 
that although desirous of going to Egypt I could 
not do so unless I was made a full colonel, and 
was given permission to practice my profession in 
Cairo. He agreed to telegraph to that effect and 
to communicate the result so soon as he had re- 
ceived an answer. 

Some days afterward he sent me a telegram from 
the Egyptian authorities accepting my terms, and 
-a formal appointment from himself, embracing the 
conditions to which I have referred. I thus sud- 
denly found myself committed to the service under' 
the Khedive ;* and when the reality of a residence 
in so distant a land and a radical change in all my 
plans of life was actually brought before me,*l must 
confess that it seemed a far more serious step than I 
had originally conceived of, and one that I greatly 
hesitated to take. In midst of my perplexity I 
had the curious dream to which I have already re- 
ferred, and but for it I should never have had the 
courage to make the venture. 

Do you remember the dinner which you and 
other friends gave me at Barnum's just previous to 

See Apx^endix (A), 

398 A doctor's experiences 

my departure? I have never forgotten it, and its 
menu hangs framed to-day in my office, a connect- 
ing link between the past and the present, and a 
souvenir of a most delightful occasion. How many 
times, when surfeited with the cuisine of foreign 
lands, have I refreshed my palate by contemplating^ 
its tempting spread of terrapins, oysters, canvas- 
back ducks, etc. Each guest of that deliglitful 
evening is associated with the choicest delicacies of 
Barnum's, and that alone is sufficient to embalm 
him forever in my memory. What a charming 
event it proved to me ! For it was a gathering of 
my friends, of those who believed in me, and wha 
had stood bravely by me in all the vicissitudes of 
my life in Baltimore. And the old Maderia which 
Mr. Dorsey produced to drink a parting toast to 
my "health and happiness" — its bouquet has 
lingered in my nostrils and its flavor upon my lips 
ever since. But friendship — true and tried — was 
the sauce that flavored the courses that night, and 
gave them a relish beyond the dream of the chef Sit 
Voisin's or Vefour's. 

I stopped on the Jersey side so as to take the 
Cunarder which then started from that locality, 
and while dressing on the morning of my depart- 
ure tl^ere was a rap at my door, and in walked 
William — the colored boy who had served me so 
long and so faithfully in Baltimore. 

" What on earth has brought you here, Will- 
iam?" was my surprised exclamation. 

" Well_, Doctor, you see you are used to me and 
to my ways, and I am going along with you," he 

'^ What, going with me to Egypt?" I exclaimed. 

"Yes, sir, I am a-gwine to Egypt with you. 
You see I told Mrs. Warren I wanted to go and 


she sent me. I am a-gwine to take care of you," 
he replied. 

And he went with me, and he is with me still, 
the most loyal, devoted and humble of servants, 
although he speaks three or four languages, and 
has been petted by everybody on this side of the 

His father was a freed man, and at one time pos- 
sessed a considerable estate, including several ne- 
groes. Being naturally over-confiding and rather 
thriftless, his brother soon managed to get him 
into debt and to obtain possession of his property ; 
and when- I knew him he was glad to obtain 
work in the college with which I was con- 
nected. One nisrht he tried his hand as a resur- 
rectionist, with the result of an arrest and an 
imprisonment for three months, notwithstanding 
our urgent efforts to secure his release. Quite an 
amusing incident occurred in this connection which 
illustrates the power of avarice over the human 
soul, even though it be that of a doctor. The bail 
for our captured resurrectionist was fixed at five 
hundred dollars, and it became necessary to find 
two sureties — both property-owners — each to be- 
come responsible for one-half of that sum. Only 
two members of the faculty possessed ^'real estate" 
in Baltimore, and it was agreed to request them 
to sign the bond, and for the rest to subscribe to a 
paper securing them from all loss. The most in- 
timate friend of one of the property- owners was 
delegated to visit him for the purpose of explain- 
ing and arranging the matter. He went to the 
house of our rich confrere^ and after telling him of 
Hughes' arrest, and of the certainty that the poor 
fellow would have to remain three months in jail 
unless bail could be found, etc., requested him to 

400 A doctor's experiences 

become one of the sureties on tlie terms already 

" What, become securit}^ for two hundred and 
fifty dollars ! " he exclaimed ; ''impossible ! I would 
not sign for that sum to take you out of jail." 

And yet he w^as worth a square million, and 
the party addressed was his dearest friend. Our 
ambassador departed precipitately, and poor Hughes 
remained in prison for the full term of three months. 
Finding him honest and reliable I took one of his 
sons, who was then about fifteen years of age. into 
m}^ service ; and he has been with me ever since, 
embracing a period of some sixteen years. Possess- 
ing a kindly disposition, and being naturally fond of 
children, he soon became a great favorite with my 
family and has remained so up to the present mo- 
ment. Ele has proved invaluable to me in connec- 
tion with my professional work, having learned to 
assist in operations, to dress wounds, to extract 
teeth, to give hypodermic injections, and to do a 
variety of things which a physician in full prac- 
tice requires to have done for him. But it is es- 
pecially as a garcon de rece2:)tion that he excels. He 
can distinguish "who is who" at a glance ; he 
know^s how to commiserate w^ith a patient on his 
first visit, and to find improvement in his visage at 
each succeeding one ; he understands how much 
time a case requires for its consideration, and when 
to interrupt a long-winded client ; he can enter- 
tain and divert an impatient visitor to perfection ; 
he can be the most polite of servants, the tenderest 
of nurses, and the sharpest of collectors, as the cir- 
cumstances demand ; and, in a word, there does 
not live a luan who plays his appointed role in 
life with greater tact and judgment than my 
faithful office boy, William Hughes. Though a 
neo:ro, and bnlv wdth such an education as he has 


*^ picked up " in my house, he has the manners and 
the appearance of a gentleman — and he is one, if 
fidelity to duty, incorruptible honesty, scrupulous 
neatness of person and the kindest of hearts entitle 
a man to be so regarded. His devotion to me, 
regard for my feelings, respect for my opinions, 
interest in my business, and desire to promote my 
€omfort and happiness are something phenomenal ; 
€ind, I can say with truth, that he has been the 
most patient, loyal and consistent friend that I 
have had in life. 

On two occasions he concluded to leave my ser- 
vice, but s-ignally failed in each attempt. In one 
instance, his health becoming bad, he concluded to 
try the efficacy of a change of air, and took the posi- 
tion of chief steward on a river steamer. He had 
only made a few trips, however, when he chanced 
to find a terrapin crawling on the shore, and cap- 
turing it, he brought it in triumph to Baltimore, 
and hurried to my house to present it to my little 
boy — never giving a thought to his steamer again. 

Again, having fallen desperately in love, he fol- 
lowed the object of his affections to New York, 
where he took service as a waiter in a boarding- 
house. A short time after his departure I had oc- 
casion to write to him in order to ascertain where 
he had left a set of harness for repair, and a day 
or two afterward I was surprised when I opened 
my eyes in the morning to see William moving 
stealthily about the room, engaged in arranging 
my clothes as usual. '^Halloa, William," I cried 
out ; " what are you doing in Baltimore?" "Oh, 
sir ! " he answ^ered, " I come on to find them har- 
ness you wrote about," and he went on with his 
w^ork as if nothing had occurred and New York 
had no existence. 

I learned subsequently that when the servants 


questioned him in regard to his return, he said : 
'' Well, folks. New York is the nicest sort of a 
place, and the people were mighty friendly to me. 
hut I felt so lonesome without the doctor and the 
children that I could not stand it and I just packed 
up and come home again." 

He is one of the few ^' Democratic " darkeys that 
I have ever met with — not through any influence 
that I have exerted upon him, but, apparently, be- 
cause the war rather diminished the dignity of 
his family by so largely augmenting the number of 

A grand functionary of the United States once 
came up to him, and patting him on the shoulder, 
said: " Ah, William, we Republicans are your 
friends, and you ought to love us dearly. We set 
you all free." ''Not at all, sir," said he ; "you 
Republicans did nothing for me, you only set my 
darkeys free" — a remark which surprised and 
silenced the politician, as you can well imagine. 

He is naturally of a peaceable disposition, but 
he can brook no insult to me, and he has had 
several difficulties on that account. 

On one occasion the guard on duty at the prin- 
cipal gate of the Cairo Citadel'*' failed to salute me 
as we drove through it en route to my office. In a 
moment William called to the syce — the avant 
courier, who, in Eastern lands, runs before the car- 
riage of every personage to clear the way, and an- 
nounce his master's title, etc. — ordered him to 
stand before the horses, and proceeded to give the 
offending soldier, armed as he was, a sound thrash- 
ing with his whip. In the midst of the melee 
Ratib Pasha, the commander-in-chief, rode up, 
and threatened William with his sword, at the 

*See Appendix (B). 


same time abusing him most savagely. To my 
horror, William turned upon him, and asserting 
his American citizenship^ declared that he should 
he treated to a similar punishment if he dared 
again to open his lips. The Pasha gazed at him 
for a moment with speechless amazement, and then, 
true to the instincts of his pusillanimous nature, 
put spurs to his horse, and dashed off as if the 
devil was after him. The scene was ludicrous 
beyond expression, but it was only after several 
anxious nights that I slept soundly again, because 
of the constant expectation of an order sending me 
to Central Africa or dismissing me from the ser- 
vice, as I well knew the vindictive character of 
the man with whom I had to deal. For some in- 
comprehensible reason the order did not arrive, but 
in place of it there came, a few days afterward, an 
invitation to a feast, which the generalissimo had 
given in honor of his marriage. Ratib is the in- 
dividual who subsequently figured so ingloriously 
in the Abyssinian campaign, causing by his ob- 
stinacy and cowardice — according to General Lor- 
ing — the destruction of the greater part of the 
Egyptian army, and having been found in the 
midst of the attack upon the fort, in which the 
fugitives from the ill-fated field had taken refuge, 
concealed beneath a pile of Arab bread, so para- 
lyzed by fear and disfigured with dust as scarcely 
to be recognizable. 

From William's dark complexion, and the at- 
tention which he paid to his dress, the natives for 
a long time took him to be a eunuch, and treated 
him with all the deference which they habitually 
accord to those dilapidated but still puissant 
specimens of humanity. 

By his own imprudence, however, he lost his 
prestige in that regard, and came near losing his 
life as well. 

404 A doctor's experiences 

Prompted by his inherent love of displa}' and a 
'desire to outshine the English coachman kept by 
:his highness for grand ceremonies, he arrayed 
liim^f on one occasion in full livery, including a 
iwb^ — which, with its variegated cockade and its 
glossy eheen^ was to his mind the j^erfection of ele- 
;gance — and then drove up the Mouski, the princi- 
ipal street of the native quarter. Instead of receiv- 
ing the ovation which he expected^ he soon found 
himself surrounded by a crowd of infuriated Mus- 
sulmans who, with cries of "'down with the trait- 
or," "death to the renegade," '^crucify the apos- 
tate," struck at him with clubs and swords, pelted 
bim with everything they could lay their hands 
3ipon, and attempted to drag him from his seat in 
order to inflict summary punishment upon him for 
ihaving abandoned his religion and proclaimed his 
a^ecantation by wearing a hat in the public streets. 
The timely arrival of a squad of foreign policemen 
alone saved his life, and even then he had diffi- 
culty in escaping from the fanatical rabble and in 
returning to my house. 

Though frightened nearly out of his wits, his 
anind had been unable to conceive a motive for the 
(hostile demonstration, and he came rushing into 
my office, still arrayed in his liveried splendor, to 
give me a history of his adventure, and to ask the 
meaning of the attack upon him. 

" My God, Doctor, they tried to kill me! They 
kept pointing at my nice new hat and crying, 
■^ nooser ani' and' 'ehiiu el kelp,' all the time. 
Oan't an American wear a hat in this country as 
well as a Britisher? 'Fore Grod, they never saw a 
finer one. What does it all mean^ anyhow?" 

'^ Why, William, it is as plain as daylight. 

"^i^ee Apj)endix (C). 


From the color of your skin they have always^ 
taken you for a Mohammedanj and a eunuch at 
that, and seeing that you had abandoned your 
tarbouche and put on a hat, they thought you had 
changed your religion and become a Christian." 

"Is that it? What a set of cussed fools ! Ketch 
me wearing a hat again while I am in Egypt ; hut 
that is a nice hat, Doctor." 

''I'll make that all right, old fellow. You^ 
bought it on my account and I will pay for it; but 
the thing that grieves me most is that they will 
never take you for a eunuch again, and you will not 
be regarded as so much of a great man hereafter." 

For many a day afterward, as we drove over the 
scene of the conflict, William's countenance wore: 
an uneasy expression, and I observed many a look 
of hatred leveled after us, but no further violence- 
was attempted, and save in the loss of his prestige 
my faithful servant suffered no detriment. 

In explanation of the indignation excited by 
William's unfortunate hat, I must say that the- 
tarbouche or the turban is de rigueur with all true- 
followers of the Prophet, while every other cover- 
ing for the head is regarded as a token of unbelief 
or of apostasy. Hence it was that every foreign 
officer in the Khedive's service was required to- 
wear a fez or tarbouche, in order to avoid remark 
and discussion on the part of the natives. 

It is a singular circumstance that a covering for 
the head which affords no protection to the eyes,. 
either against the rays of the sun or the glare and 
dust of the desert, should be adopted by a country 
in which ophthalmia is the prevailing disease. 

During the summer months that affection is al- 
most universal among children under ten years of 
age, and the proportion of blind or partially blind 
men is about one in twenty of the population. 


Though produced originally by the combined ef- 
fects of the sun's rays, dust and vicissitudes of 
temperature, ophthalmia is a contagious disease — 
i. e., is reproducible by actual contact — and most' 
frequently by the agency of the flies which swarm 
in that country. Believing them to have been 
sent by Allah, (?) the natives respect them accord- 
ingly, and consider it sinful to brush them away or 
in any manner to interfere with them. 

It is a common thing to see the faces of the cliil- 
dren covered with them — blackened and disfigured 
by their presence — and while Egyptian mothers show 
all the instincts of maternity in other regards, noth- 
inof can induce them to raise their hands ao;ainst 
these insects. Flies thus become agents for the 
transportation of the virus of ophthalmia and the 
principal instruments of its propagation. 

As a matter of pure humanity I opened a dis- 
pensary for the treatment of ophthalmia among the 
soldiers and their families, and though hundreds 
presented themselves daily, I could accomplish but 
little toward their relief, for the reason that my in- 
junctions in this regard were invariablj" disregarded. 
They were willing to take any amount -of medicine, 
and to submit to whatever I proposed in the way 
of applications or of oj^erations, but they perferred 
to suffer pain or to incur the risk of blindness rather 
than insult the Lord by interfering with His agents 
and ministers — the flies which infest the country. 

Whether I should have succeeded ultimately in 
eradicating this superstitious prejudice, I can not 
say, for after an experience of two weeks in the 
Dowhadish, and in spite of every possible precau- 
tion to guard against contagion, I was attacked 
with ophthalmia, and I am to-day a sufferer from its 
consequences. William assisted me in this work, 
and though he laughed incredulously when enjoined 



to caution in dealing with my patients, lie too fella 
victim a short time afterward. The negro has no 
fortitude of character, and he hecomes immediately 
demoralized when called upon to suffer either 
physically or mentally. Having just passed 
through the same ordeal, I appreciated fully his 
meaning when he spoke of the 'Hiot iron which was 
boring through his eye and burning his brain," 
and yet there was a ludicrousness about his pro- 
ceedings which elicited a smile as I sympathized 
with his sufferings and sought to minister to their 

Though the thermometer was above 100°, he 
wrapped a woolen comforter about his head, en- 
veloped his body with blankets, and alternately 
shrieked, sang camp-meeting hymns, prayed de- 
voutly, and called for his ''mammy" by day and 
night for nearly two entire weeks. Indeed, he 
aroused the whole neighborhood, and frightened 
the contiguous Arabs and Levantines almost out of 
their lives, while my own family was kept in a 
■state of mortal terror during the entire period of his 
illness. I was compelled to give him morphia hy- 
podermically and in large quantities to render life 
tolerable to him, and to keep him from expiring 
from pain and fright. 

On several occasions during his residence in 
Paris he has experienced the same agony from a 
return of the disease and has gone through similar 
performances — though fortunately not on so gigan- 
tic a scale — to the wonder of my neighbors and the 
consternation of my household. 

Is it not .a strange circumstance that a man of 
good sense, of an abundance of physical courage, 
and of considerable pride of character should be- 
come thus demoralized and irresponsible under the 
influence of pain, and at the bare possibility of 

4*08 ■. A doctor's experiences 

death ? And yet lie is but the type of his race in 
this regard — he is a negro au fond notwithstand- 
ing his many admirable qualities, his long associa- 
tion with white men, and his varied experiences of 
the world. I mention this in no disparagement of 
my good friend and faithful servant, but simply as 
a practical demonstration of the difficulty of eradi- 
cating the peculiarities by which the different races 
are distinguished from one another. 

I have been struck very forcibly with the facility 
with which William has picked up the languages- 
of the various countries in wdiich he has lived. He 
is a man of but limited education, and yet he had 
not lived three months in Cairo before he had ac- 
quired enough of the Arab tongue — a most difficult 
one to learn by any process — to understand what 
was said to him, and to make his wants known ; 
and he finally mastered it sufficiently to be taken 
for a native by the people of the country. We all 
devoted ourselves to the study of Arabic, but with 
the exception of my eldest daughter, who speaks it 
with great fluency, we never got to the point of 
framing sentences or of maintaining a connected 
conversation ; while this comparatively uneducated 
man, trusting to his ear alone, soon learned to 
speak it as glibly as if he had been born and raised 
in the country. Of course, my younger children 
learned it from their nurses, and it was to them 
virtually a mother tongue. 

With the exception of Colonel Chaille Long, the 
distinguished Central African explorer, I do not 
know an American officer who learned to speak 
Arabic with any approach to fluency. General 
Loring, the scholar of the commission, studied it 
with great zeal and diligence, but he was compelled 
to rely upon an interpreter to the last, although he 


made himself a master of its grammar and diction- 

I have not seen Colonel Mason for several years, 
but, as he has lived for a long time where Arabic 
is exclusively spoken, and is a man of superior 
mind and education, I suppose that he speaks it 
like a native. 

William also acquired French readily, and, 
though for a long time his grammar was rather 
mixed, and his pronunciation decidedly Ethiopian, 
he has become tout a fait Francaise, and gets along 
as well as any man in the colony. Certainly there 
is not a shrug or a grimace with which he is un- 
familiar, and he amply makes up by his proficiency 
in this respect for any deficiency in words and 

The longer a man resides in a country the less pro- 
ficient does he really find himself in its language, or, 
in other words, the more he knows the more does he 
find thatthereistoknow. Itisonlythe ''newcomer" 
with the barest smattering of French, who will 
tell you that he " speaks like a Frenchman," be- 
lieving that the ability to parade a few set phrases 
and to make his wants known comprises a thor- 
ough knowledge of the language. 

The French themselves are mainly responsible 
for this egotistical delusion . "il/ai^, 3Ionsieur, vous 
parlez bien, parfaitement Men,'' is the staple compli- 
ment with which a ''fresh arrival" is greeted on 
all sides from the first moment that he sets foot in 
the country. The bait is swallowed eagerly, as a 
general rule, as many a hotel director^ shop-keeper 
and professional quack finds by counting his gains 
when "the innocent" has departed — to mourn after- 
ward over the depleted pockets which his profi- 
ciency as a linguist has cost him. 

I was greatly amused recently by a conversation 

410 A doctor's experiences 

between a friend of mine and a sliop-keeper of the 
Rue de la Paix. Notwithstanding that he has 
lived in the country for manj^ years and prides 
himself on the knowledge of the language, his 
French is simply an incomprehensible jargon. Hav- 
ing been absent from Paris for some time he saun- 
tered into a shop on his return and renewed his 
acquaintance with its proprietor over a pair of 
gloves that he desired to purchase. After address- 
ing several remarks to the merchant in what he 
conceived to be French, he essayed to extract a 
compliment from him in regard to the fluency with 
which he spoke the language. The Frenchman 
pretended not to see the point. He praised his 
gloves ; he talked about the weather ; he inquired 
after my friend's health ; he told a piquant little 
anecdote cqjroj^os to nothing, but he avoided the 
expected compliment altogether. '' 3Iais, 3Iushur, 
vou non coiivprond. Je hai pari de mon Francaise. 
Je pari perfet , maintnoiv^ n est pas f" 

^'Oui, Monsieur, vous parlez — vous parlez — vous 
parlez — mieux" — the ''Men' which he essayed to 
utter, and my friend so confidently expected to 
hear, being too much for his conscience, seared and 
hardened as it was by twenty years of dealing with 
foreigners in the Hue de la Paix. My friend's in- 
dignation knew no bounds, for he saw the French- 
man's difficulty, and, turning to me^ he said : 
^' This man is a natural-born fool. He does not 
appreciate his own language when it is properly 
spoken. I shall trade at some other shop here- 
after," and he left the place in hopeless disgust. 

I am sure the Frenchman will never hesitate be- 
tween mieux and Men again, for, realizing that his 
conscientiousness has cost him a client, he will be 
as polite as the rest of his countrymen for the future, 
you may depend upon it. 





My Dear Doctor : 

I sailed from New York on the 2d day of April, 
1873. on the steamer '' Abyssinia," of the Cunard 
line, in company with General E. E. Colston, who 
had also accepted a position in the Egyptian Army, 
and whose subsequent services were well appreciated 
and rewarded by the Khedive. 

Our departure was not an auspicious one, as the 
papers of that morning contained the first intelli- 
gence of the loss of the steamer ^' Atlantic ;" and 
the last sound that we heard from the shore was 
the cry of the news-boys announcing ^' A terrible 
shipwreck ! " '' The loss of several hundred lives," 

As in nearly every instance of disaster at sea, the 
cause can be traced to criminal negligence, the best 
time for sailing is just after such a calamity, as the 
officers are thus stimulated to unusual care in the 
navigation of the ship and in everything relating 
to their duties. 

It is far from agreeable, nevertheless, to have 
one's ears saluted, at the last moment, by the tid- 
ings of so dreadful an accident, and for several 
days its effect could be seen in the pallid counte- 
nances and serious mien of all on board. 

As the weather was fine, the ship staunch, and 
the officers unusually attentive to their duties, the 
gloom among the passengers gradually disappeared. 

412 A doctor's experiences 

and we had a remarkably cheerful and pleasant 

Having failed to make the tide at the bar of the 
Mersey, we were transported thence to Liverpool in 
a small tug, and as a result, I contracted a severe 
cohl, which confined me to bed for several days 
after my arrival at the Northwestern Hotel. 

Few things in life are more disagreeable than 
to be sick in a hotel. Such establishments are 
made for well people — for those who are in a con- 
dition to spend money freely and to give the mini- 
mum of trouble. 

Sickness is resented as a gratuitous insult, and 
an invalid usually receives about as much con- 
sideration as he might expect in the hut of a Hot- 
tentot. But for William's assiduous attentions I 
should have fared badly indeed, for circumlocution 
was the order of the day, and everything that I 
required and asked for was '' against the rules of 
the house." 

However, under the judicious use of remedies, the 
threatening pneumonia was transformed into a 
mild bronchitis, and I was soon able to bid adieu 
to the Northwestern, and to journey on to London. 

After William had watched at my bedside for a 
day or two, I insisted that he should go out and 
see the city. He was absent for several hours, and 
returned with his mind filled with the astounding 
fact that ^' everybody spoke American as well as he 
did," and the circumstance that he had encountered 
a band of negro minstrels, who had offered him a 
large salary to join them and to go " starring " — 
as he expressed it — all over Europe. More than 
half of the company, it seemed, were white men, 
and they desired the addition of more genuine 
African blood in order to make their enterprise a 
success. He refuted their proposition at once, but 


tliey became so importuDate that he was really fear- 
ful lest they might waylay and kidnap him, nolens 
nolens. I quieted his fears as best I could, but 
warned him at the same time "to keep his eyes 
open," for I felt some apprehension on the subject 

William did not venture in the streets again, but 
he several times pointed out his importunate 
friends, as they hung about the hotel hoping to 
have another talk with him. As he is a good-look- 
ing darkey, possesses a fine voice, and has a jle- 
cidedly musical turn, he would have proved an 
invaluable addition to their troupe — would have 
literally coined money for them I learned after- 
ward that they visited all the European capitals, 
producing a sensation everywhere, and returning 
home with heavier pockets than they had started 
out with. 

In London I had the pleasure of meeting that 
splendid gentleman and greg^t surgeon, Sir James 
Paget, to whom I carried letters of introduction 
from Professors Gross and Pancoast, of Philadel- 
phia. He invited me to his house, introduced 
me to his family, and gave me a letter to Mr. 
Fowler, the English engineer, then employed by 
the Khedive in perfecting the great works of in- 
ternal improvement to which he had devoted him- 
self. Sir James has risen by the force of his genius 
and character to the most commanding professional 
position in England ; and he is, at the same time, 
the very type of a finished gentleman. 

Since my residence in Paris I have renewed my 
acquaintance with him, and I am proud to be able 
to number him among the truest friends I have made 
upon this side of the jitlantic. His election to the 
presidency of the International Congress of 1881 — 
to which I had the honor of being a delegate — is 

414 A doctor's experiences 

an evidence of the estimation in which he is^ held 
by the medical profession of the world, and the 
able and eloquent address which he delivered on 
that occasion fully justified the wisdom of his 
selection for so distinguished a position. 

In manner and appearance he reminds me ot" 
the late Wm. B. Kogers, the distinguished Ameri- 
can scientist, for they were cast in the same heroic 
mold, and inherited equally the attributes of genius. 

I had always looked forward with pleasure to a 
second visit to Paris, but I found everything about 
it so changed by the hand of vandalism that the 
impression produced upon my mind was only a 
painful one. I had known the city in its days of 
imperial splendor — when it was incomparably gay, 
and grand, and glorious, and I found it draped in 
mourning, torn b}^ internal dissensions, and marred 
by unsightly ruins. Between the Paris of '73 and 
that of '55 there was as great a difference as between 
a funeral dirge and a wedding march — a dilapi- 
dated brick and a diamond of the first water. 
Everything seemed radically and hopelessly 
changed, and I left it with a feeling of relief — a 
veritable surcease from regret and disappointment. 

As a matter of economy, we traveled from Paris 
to Brindisi as second-class passengers, which neces- 
sitated a halt at every station, as well as innu- 
merable changes of trains. As we spoke scarcely 
a word of Italian, and no one seemed to understand 
either English or French, it has always been a 
mystery how we escaped starvation and reached our 
destination. Bread and wine were the only arti- 
cles in the way of sustenance that our knowledge 
of Italian permitted us to ask for, and we only 
avoided being carried in wrong directions by cry- 
ing out, -'Brindisi! Brindisi! Brindisi!" at the 
top of our voices, whenever the train came to a 



halt. William's black skin collected a crowd at 
every station, and our frantic efforts to keep in the 
direct route created a sensation from the Alps to 
the Adriatic. The only wonder is that we 
were not arrested as lunatics, for I am sure we 
were taken for such at every station throughout 
the entire route. 

After a pleasant voyage of four days over a wave- 
less sea and beneath cloudless skies, we entered the 
harbor of Alexandria,* where we found General 
and Colonel Reynolds — old Confederates and dear 
friends — waiting to welcome us, and bearing a 
message from General Loring ''to come directly to 

After passing through the custom-house we took 
a carriage, and drove, first through the city, and 
tliPM about a mile into the country, to the General's 

He gave us a cordial welcome, and bade us make 
ourselves at home in Gabara. This palace had been 
one of the favorite summer homes of Said Pasha^f 
the former Khedive of Egypt, and I can well under- 
stand his partiality for it. It is built in the East- 
ern style, only one story in height, with a rectangu- 
lar central building, and a wing on either side — 
one for the selamlik and the other for the hareem. 
Its interior is gorgeous with mirrors, marble floors, 
panels of porphyry, mosaics, divans, carpets, and 
all that can be conceived of oriental luxury ; while a 
large veranda occupies its entire front, and a spa- 
cious garden lies behind it, filled with murmuring 
fountains, luscious fruit and fragrant flowers. 

The approach to it is through a spacious avenue 
skirted with mimosas, which unite in a canopy 
above, and embower it in perpetual shade ; and 

See Appendix (D). fSee Appendix (E). 


spreading around it in ever}^ direction are large 
fields devoted to the cultivation of the date, the 
orange, the fig, and the almond. It is impossible 
to conceive of a lovelier spot, and one is reminded 
at every turn of the stories of the Arabian Nights, 
and feels as if he v^^ere really in fairy land. 

This palace had been assigned to G-eneral Loring 
as his quarters when he was placed in command of 
Alexandria, and he lived there in princely elegance, 
with the two Reynolds — his aides-de-camp — and 
their families. 

We received a cordial welcome, but found it difii- 
cult to sleep on accoant of the excitement incident 
to our arrival, and the strange emotions inspired 
by the novelty of the situation and the magnifi- 
cence of the objects around us. 

We took the train at eight o'clock on the succeed- 
ing morning, and reached Cairo* in six hours and 
a half, the journey having proved an exceedingly 
interesting one, because of the strange sights and 
interesting associations which presented themselves 
on every side. 

We reached Cairo in the midst of what is known 
as a ^^ hhampseen/' a wind which blows from the 
south, and brings with it the dust and the heat 
of the desert. There is no spring-time in Egypt, 
but, from the 1st of April until about the 20th of 
May, a period of fifty days, this wind prevails, 
giving one a foretaste of the infernal. Khamjose is 
the Arabic word for fifty, and the wind which blows 
from the desert during this period of fifty days is 
called the ^^khampseen." After this most disa- 
greeable season the direction of the wind changes, 
coming from the north, especially after sunset, and 
renderins: the niorhts cool and refreshinoj. 

*See Appendix (F). 


During these storms the natives retire to their 
liouses and carefully close their doors and win- 
dows, so as to keep out the dust and heat, and, 
when compelled to breast them, they cover their 
heads and faces with blankets, just as the inhabi- 
tants of colder regions do to protect themselves 
against the blasts of Boreas. 

As I before informed you, a storm of this kind 
prevailed Avhen we reached Cairo. The air was 
loaded with dense clouds of dust ; a wind was 
blowing from the desert which felt like the breath 
of a furnace ; and, from the debilitating influences 
•of an atmosphere alike deficient in oxygen, filled 
with impalpable particles of sand, and heated above 
the blood-range, a feeling of nervous prostration 
"was produced which seemed scarcely supportable. 
I felt as if I had been translated to tlie lower re- 
gions, and bitterly regretted ever having thought 
of Egypt. 

Seeking, however, the shelter of the New Hotel, 
I retired to my room, threw off my clothes, called 
for a plentiful supply of artificial ice and palm-leaf 
fans, and made myself as comfortable as circum- 
stances would allow until the storm had spent itself. 

This wind is not the '■'' simoon,'' as some sup- 
pose. Tlie ^'khamj^seen" usually prevails for about 
three days, brings with it a temperature of 95°, 
and is laden with the impalpable dust of the des- 
ert, while the "simoon" usually blows for about 
twenty minutes only, raises the thermometer to 
100°, and is attended by clouds composed princi- 
pally of sand. 

The climate of Egypt during the greater part of 
the year is remarkably salubrious and healthy. 
The general height of the thermometer in the win- 
ter is from 50° to 60° — in the afternoons — in the 
^hade. I never saw but one rain at Cairo, and, 

418 A doctor's experiexces 

though it was only a passing shower, the natives 
regarded it as a deluge. Consumption is a com- 
mon disease among the blacks from the interior 
of Africa, the climate being so much colder than 
that in which they have been reared. 

Everything about Egypt is so peculiar that a 
stranger feels on his first arrival as if he had lost 
his identity, and had been wafted to another sphere. 
Its ideas and customs are generally directly antip- 
odal of those of other lands in all regards. 

The people of Egypt are ultra religious,* as they 
understand the matter. They have absolute faith 
alike in the existence of a God, and in His direct 
intervention in the affairs of life. They do every- 
thing, in fact, in the name of Allah, and follow 
with blind obedience the teachings of Mohanaet as^ 
recorded in the Koran. 

Although the heaven of the Koran is peopled 
with Houris — seventy-two of whom minister to 
each one of the elect, women are virtually ex- 
cluded from the religion of el golam. Instead, 
therefore, of spending their lives in prayer and 
pilgrimage^ they occupy themselves with paying^ 
visits, painting their persons, drinking coffee, eat- 
ing sweetmeats, rehearsing the tales of the Ara- 
bian Nights, talking scandal, and planning in- 
trigues of every possible description. 

In some rare instances they affect religious 
fervor, and devote themselves to a great parade of 
self-sacrifice, prayer-making and almsgiving, but 
always with the conviction that their chances of 
the "better land" are doubtful at best, and that 
their only hope is in the direct intervention of the 

Of course, I refer to the x4rabs proper, for the 
Copts, t who compose a considerable portion of the- 

*See Appendix (G). fSee Appendix (H). 


population, are ChristianSj although in other re- 
spects no differences are discoverable between 
them and their neighbors. It is a remarkable 
circumstance that these two classes, Arabs and 
Copts, should have lived so long together, with the 
same laws and similar habitudes, without having 
amalgamated, and yet they remain as distinctly 
separated as the Jews and the Christians of other 

A missionary establishment has existed in Cairo> 
for a number of years, under the direction of men 
of ability and great religious zeal, and yet I have 
never heard of the conversion of but one Moham- 
medan to the Christian faith, and that was effected 
by other influence than theirs. The ministrations 
of the missionaries have, however, prospered 
among the Copts, for, though professedly believers 
in the divinity of Christ, their religion had be- 
come only another name for idolatry and super- 
stition, and they greatly needed the teaching and 
the example of such men as Drs. Lansing and 

The convert to whom I refer is a young man by 
the name of Achmed Fahmy, who for a long time 
was attached to me as an official interpreter. He 
soon established friendly relations with my house- 
hold, and as he was a devout Mussulman, he set 
himself diligently to work to convert William. The 
latter was a staunch Methodist at the time, and 
the arguments between the two were as intermin- 
able as they were animated and amusing. One 
day I overheard William say to him : ^'Now^ 
Achmed, I want to ask you a question, and you 
must answer it truly. What do you think will 
become of the Doctor when he is dead and gone?'^ 

" Why, it is as plain as daylight. He is an un- 
believer, and the Prophet says, ' All who refuse 

420 A doctor's experiences . 

to believe in me, and to follow me, shall be pun- 
ished eternally.' I am sorry for the Doctor, for he 
has been like a father to me, but the devil will 
■surely get him. That's why I am praying for 
him all the time," was his answer. 

" Well, just see here, Achmed," exclaimed Will- 
iam, ^' if you are such a tarnation fool as to believe 
such devilish doctrines as those, I am done with you. 
I've got no faith in you, and your blasted religion, 
neither." But they continued friends, neverthe- 
less, and went on with their arguments uj) to the 
day of my departure. My wife, who was also very 
fond of the young fellow, occasionally put in a 
word, and loaned him some books to read, in- 
cluding a copy of the New Testament. But he 
gave no sign of yielding, and we left Egypt be- 
lieving that our labor had been lost, and that he 
would die, as he had lived, a devoted follower of 
the Prophet. 

Some five or six years afterward one of my 
friends was about to visit Egypt, and I gave him a 
note to Achmed, knowing him to be an honest 
fellow and an excellent dragoman, and you can 
judge of my astonishment when I received in reply 
the subjoined letter : 

Cairo, Uli March, 1878. 
Dr. Warren-Bey. 

My Dear Sir : After presenting you my best 
wishes and compdiments, I wish to tell you about 
a very wonderful and glorious thing. You know 
that I was a very strict Mohammedan. One day, 
as I thought proper and very necessary to search 
for the true religion, I found that Christianity is 
the true one, therefore, I embraced it six months 
ago. Indeed, I suffered many trials and persecu- 
tions for the true religion of God. Had I not 


taken Dr. Lansing's house as my refuge^ I should 
have been put to death, according to the Moham- 
medan barbarous law. Now I am as a prisoner in 
Dr. Lansing's, unable to go out at all, because my 
relations and the Mohammedans are so excited and 
watching over me all the time ; therefore, I was 
unable to go out with General L. 

I wish you to pray for me that I may be strong 
enough to bear such trials for the sake of my Lord 
and Saviour. 

Please give my love to Mrs. and Misses Warren. 
Your most sincere 


I never heard of him afterward, and can only 
hope that he remained true to the faith which had 
thus germinated in his heart from the seeds that, 
we were instrumental in sowing there. 

William took the conversion all to himself, and 
rejoiced over it exceedingly, telling me, in con- 
fidence, that wath a little more "book larning 
and practice" he would have made ''just about as 
good a preacher as any of them." Most white 
men believe that they are natural-born actors y 
while every darkey regards himself as a preacher 
in disguise. 

I can't refrain from telling you of an instance 
in which Achmed translated some directions of 
mine to a patient, vei^hatim et literatim, and with 
a result that was far more laughable than scientific, 
as you will see. 

Having been- called to an Armenian with a large 
nicer on his head, I directed him, through Achmed, 
to shave the hair from its margins, and to keep it 
covered with Jloicr until the next day, when I would 
call and cauterize it. On making my second visit, 
I found the patient seated in state, surrounded by 

422 A doctor's experiences 

liis astonished neighbors, with the hair shaven 
from his entire scalp, and a crown of roses encir- 
cling his head — all the result of the absolutely lit- 
eral manner in Avhich my instructions had been 
construed by my faithful dragoman. 

The Egyptians are an amiable and docile race, 
very much resembling in disposition and character 
the American negroes. I had many evidences of 
their kindliness, but not one which impressed me 
more deeply than the devotion which my baby's 
nurse manifested when the dear little fellow was 
.stricken with the small-pox. I was suffering at 
the time with ophthalmia, and having so little 
vision remaining that I could scarcely discern 
objects around me, my physician kept me confined 
in a darkened room, with my eyes covered with 
warm compresses. I was informed that the child 
was covered with a ^'curious eruption" and had 
fever^ but being told by the oculist that it was a 
•case of simple varicella, I gave no serious thought 
to the matter. After a day or two my wife said to 
me, "^^I wish you could examine the baby, for 
he is evidently very ill, and the eruption gets worse 
call the time." '' I will see him at all hazards," I 
said, being greatly alarmed and apprehending se- 
rious trouble. Washing my eyes thoroughly with 
warm water, and having a lamp held behind me, I 
anade an examination of the child, and found to 
my consternation that he was suffering with con- 
fluent small-pox. He was a beautiful boy, and I 
had permitted myself to believe that lie had been 
rsent in mercy to replace my first-born son, but I 
realized at a glance that he was doomed, and that 
our still bleeding bosoms were to be lacerated anew. 
It was a hard task to tell his mother of his condi- 
tion, for she. too, had regarded him as a ^^ child 


of consolation," and had lavished upon him all 
the idolatry of which her loving nature was capable. 

Sorrow reigned in my house that day and for 
many days afterward. The disease marched with 
its wonted rapidity and violence, and, with the de- 
%^elopment of the secondary fever, another soul 
passed through "• the pearly gates," and two hearts 
were left stricken and desolate. 

As soon as I discovered the real nature of the 
■disease, I informed his Arab nurse of his condition 
and of her danger, and told her that I could not be 
so cruel as to ask her to remain with him under the 

Poor Amoonah was broken-hearted, not for her- 
self, but for him, and, declaring that she was '^will- 
ing to'die for the tuallad/' the Arab term for little 
boy, she held him in her arms until he breathed his 
last, crying over him as if her heart would break, 
and uttering that peculiar wail* with which an 
Eastern mother mourns the lossof her own offspring. 
Although she and the other members of the family 
"were not vaccinated until several days after the ap- 
pearance of the eruption, no other case occurred, 
and we were left alone with our sorrow in that land 
of strangers. Surely, no severer test of courage 
and devotion could have been applied, and the con- 
duct of that lowly Arab woman was simply sublime, 
for she appreciated the risk; she was free to go, and 
we were Christians and aliens. 

The excitement and grief through which 1 was 
thus compelled to pass increased the inflammation 
of my eyes, and for more than six weeks I lay in a 
darkened chamber, feeling as if a hot iron was be- 
ing thrust through the orbit into the brain, and 
oppressed by the apprehension of permanent blind- 

See Appendix (I). 

424 A doctor's experiexces 

ness. Those were dark days, indeed, and the re- 
membrance of.tliem still shadows my memory like 
the souvenirs of some terrible nightmare. 

But for the fidelity of Dr. Abatte — an Italian 
physician connected with the Palace — and the un- 
tiring ministrations of my wife and daughter, I 
should have lost my vision and perhaps my life. 
Of this truly good man I shall have more to say 
anon, for he proved himself a true friend in a great 
emergency, and I can never live long enough to 
repyy his kindness. 




My Dear Doctor : 

The word liareeni^ means a man's family, and the 
place of its abode, though in Eastern lands the term 
covers much ground and includes some very pecu- 
liar ideas. Every Mohammedan is entitled to four 
wives, each taking rank according to the date of her 
marriage, beginning with the youngest, and all be- 
ing virtually the slaves of their husband. In many 
instances wives are really slaves, having been 
originally purchased and never having been en- 
franchised. In this way they may become the 
property of their own children by inheritance, and 
they have been sold as such both publicly and pri- 
vately in Cairo. Such occurrences are, however, 
rare in Egypt, for filial affection predominates there 
over mercenary considerations, as a general rule. 

The Koran teaches reverence for parents in em- 
phatic terms, and promises special rewards to those 
who manifest love and kindliness toward the mothers 
who bore them. 

Ismail Pasha set a noble example in this respect, 
as he made it the mode to display great regard and 
veneration for the mothers of Egypt. 

He surrounded his own mother with the insignia 
of royalty, treating her as if she was his superior in 

*See Appendix (J), and note that I spell the word pur- 
posely with a double e to make it conform with its pronun- 

426 A doctor's experiences 

rank, and exacting from his subjects an equal 
measure of resj^ect and consideration for her. 

On all state occasions it was as much a matter of 
etiquette to call on her as on him. She did not re- 
ceive in person, but by proxy, her representative 
being an old eunuch, who, though of ebony hue, was 
a man of fine appearance, and of the most courtly 
manners. I have repeatedly called with the Khedi- 
val Court to do homage to the '^ Queen-Mother,'' 
as she was designated, and was always received by 
her eunuch, who did the honors of his mistress's 
grand establishment with an ease and elegance 
which would have done credit to the most polished 
courtier in Europe. The Egyptian officers made it 
a point to hneel and kiss hisJiaiid, while the Ameri- 
cans limited their obeisance to shaking hands with 
him, wishing him long life and prosperity, and 
drinking a cup of his delicious coffee. As the chief 
eunuch of the mother of the Khedive he possessed 
great power, and was one of the most courted and 
flattered personages in Egypt, 

A Mohammedan has no trouble in getting rid of 
a wife. He is not called upon to invoke the ma- 
chinery of a court of law, but the words : '^ I divorce 
you," severs the bond at once and it may be for 
ever. The wife has the right to demand then a 
certain sum of money, her original dowry, and all 
of her children within certain years, but she 77mst 
find an asylum under some other roof than his at 
the earliest moment possible. 

A regularly-divorced woman cannot re-marry 
her original husband until she has married an- 
other, and has been divorced by him, as I dis- 
covered by a case wl^iich came under my personal 

We had a regular American reception on the 
first day of January, 1874, and among the callers 



was a captain of the staff, who became gloriously 
drunk on champagne, which he excused himself 
for drinking by laying the flattering unction to his 
soul that " it had been invented since the days of 
the Prophet and was not, therefore, included in his 
injunction against the use of wines." 

Returning to his own house at a late hour, and 
finding his dinner cold, he flew into a violent rage 
with his wife, and, carried away by his drunken 
frenzy, he pronounced those words of doom and 
separation^ ''I divorce you," three distinct times, 
without really knowing what he was doing. 

Unfortunately there was a witness present, so 
that when he awoke on the succeeding morning he 
found to his consternation that he was minus a wife 
and child, for the woman had left the house to 
seek the protection of her father's roof. The poor 
fellow was utterly heart-broken, for he loved his 
wife and idolized his baby, a little girl about two 
years of age. 

He immediately sought me in his sorrow, and, 
ignorant of the law on the subject, I advised him 
to apologize and remarry her. "But where shall 
1 find the man?" he exclaimed, crying like a child. 

"Find the man! What man?" I answered. 

"Find a man to marry and then divorce her 
for me," he said, and then explained the require- 
ments of the Mussulman law when the fatal words 
have been thrice pronounced, as in this instance. 

I could do nothing for him under the circum- 
stances, and I saw him for several wrecks after- 
ward moping about the Citadel, the picture of 
wretchedness and despondency. After awhile he 
came again with the announcement that the matter 
had been arranged to his satisfaction, that he had 
found a friend, who, for a consideration, had 

428 A doctor's experiexces 

agreed to marry and divorce his wife, according to 
the requirements of the Koran. 

Some days afterward he sent a messenger to my 
house, imploring me to visit him at the earliest 
possible moment, " as he was very ill and required 
professional services." I found him in bed, with a 
nervous fever, utterl\^ broken down physically and 
morally. '' Oh! Doctor, there is no friendship in 
the world," he exclaimed, '' and women are only 
devils in disguise." 

"But what is the matter?" I inquired. 

" I thought I had arranged everything," he 
sobbed out, '''but it has all gone wrong, and it will 
surely kill me. So much for disobeying the com- 
mands of the Prophet ! I found the man and they 
were married, but they have fallen in love with 
each other and he refuses to divorce her according 
to his agreement. I have lost my wife and my 
child forever. My heart is broken, I shall die, if 
you do not give me something to prevent it." 

I invoked the soothing properties of the bromide 
of potassium, and left him to his reflections on the 
dangers of champagne, the inconstancy of women, 
and the unreliability of human fi^iendship. 

In about a month's time he paid me another 
visit, looking as smiling as possible, and as proud 
as Lucifer himself. 

"Congratulate me," he said, "for it is all ar- 
ranged, and I am a happy man once more." 

" So your wife has returned to you?" 

" Not at all ; she stuck to the other fellow, and 
I have a new wife, and a far handsomer one, I 
assure you. Finding myself very lonely, I bor- 
rowed the money and bought a wife." 

" Bought a wife ! What do you mean ?" 

" Yes, I went to Fatma, the lady who supplies 
the Khedive's hareera, told her precisely what I 


wanted and how. mucli I could pa}^ and she sokl 
me a nice Circassian girl, to whom I was married 
on yesterday. Don't you think I have done well? 
She only cost me five hundred francs^ and I find 
her handsome and very amiable. I think I shall 
love her child as much as the one I have lost, 
though I still miss little Minta dreadfully at 

I congratulated him, of course, as I was pleased 
to see him restored to health and happiness after 
so painful an adventure^ which, unfortunately, had 
its inception at my table. 

There is a class. of men who make it their voca- 
tion to marry and divorce women under such cir- 
cumstances. They are called mitstohalls , and are 
conspicuous for their ugliness or deformity, so as 
to give no apprehension to those by whom they are 
employed of a denouement, such as actually oc- 
curred in the case which I have just related. 
They demand always a handsome dowry, which 
they retain as a reward for their services in thus 
filling up chasms of domestic infelicity by bring- 
ing divorced wives and repentant husbands to- 
gether again. 

The wealthier classes sometimes make use of a 
slave to officiate in this character, and the blacker 
and uglier he is, the more he is in request. The 
marriage takes place in the presence of witnesses, 
€i dowry is given to legalize it, and it is duly 
consummated, so that the slave becomes both 
de jure and de facto the husband of the divorced 
woman. The slave is then presented to her_, and 
the moment that .he becomes her property the mar- 
riage is i^^so facto dissolved, and she is free to 
marry her original spouse or whoever she pleases. 
My friend was not rich enough to employ a miisto- 
hall or a slave, and had consequently to appeal to 

430 A doctor's experiexces 

a friend, who deceived liim, and appropriated his 
wife in the bargain. 

I came near being the cause of a divorce on one 
occasion, by simply doing that which I considered 
to be demanded by the laws of common politeness. 
I was sent for by an old bey of wealth and influ- 
ence to visit the youngest of his four wives — a 
hazel-eyed, voluptuous-looking Circassian — wha 
was suffering from stomatitis, produced by the use 
of hennaj a substance in common use among the 
women of Egypt, for the staining of their nails, 
teeth, the soles of their feet, &c. I found her 
seated upon a divan, covered with a habarrah,'^ and, 
as a special privilege, I was permitted to introduce 
my hand beneath its folds, and to feel her gums. 
Prescribing to the best of my ability under these 
disadvantageous circumstances, I promised to re- 
turn in a few days, and bowed myself out of the 

On my second visit, by some accident I left my 
dragoman at home, and found on my arrival at the 
Bey's residence that its master was absent. The 
eunuch received me very graciously, however, and 
conducted me to the apartment of his mistress^ 
where I found the patient aw^aiting me. The fair 
invalid was unusually complaisant, expressing 
much pleasure at my visit, chatting gaily about 
her malady, and gradually removing her vail until 
she had uncovered her entire face, which I thought 
perfectly right, as her mother was present, and as 
it euabled me to examine her gums, and to make a 
proper application to them. She then ordered cof- 
fee and cigarettes, which I accepted, and in the 
best Arabic that I could master, made myself as 
agreeable as possible, though not getting beyond a 

^See Appendix (K). 


few common-place expressions taken from the 
phrase book. 

I was delighted with the manner in which I had 
been entertained, and I departed, rejoicing in the 
conviction that I had made a good impression upon ' 
the invalid and had secured the family en perma- 
nence as friends and patrons. 

At an earlv hour on the succeedino^ mornino; I 
received a message from the bey, to the effect that 
his wife had gone to the country for a change of 
air, and the sum of fifty francs in return for my 
professional services. Assured at once that some- 
thing was wrong, I sent Achmed around to pre- 
sent my compliments and to ascertain the nature of 
the difficulty. He soon returned, looking as pale 
as a ghost, and frightened nearly out of his wits. 

'' Oh, Doctor!" he exclaimed, as he entered my 
office, "the Bey is terribly angry with you. He is 
going to visit the Khedive to complain that you 
haA^e insulted him, and to ask for redress. He says 
that you shall be driven out of the country for the 
great outrage which you perpetrated in his house 
on yesterday You are in serious trouble. I am 
so sorry that I was not with you." 

" I was as polite and as respectful as possible on 
yesterday. I conducted myself as a gentleman and 
a physician in every way. Of what does the old 
fool complain ?" 

'' He says that you violated the Mohammedan 
law — that you offered an insult to the religion and 
the customs of the country, and he swears by the 
beard of the Prophet that you shall be punished for 
it. He has already punished his wife." 

"Punished his wife? What does it all mean?" 

" His wife uncovered herself before you, did she 

" Yes, but I had nothing to do with her uncover- 

432 A doctor's experiexces 

ing herself. She did it of her own volition. What 
have I done, I should like to know ?" 

^' You looked at her face ; you saw her mouth 
and the hack of her head." 

^' Of course, but how could I helj) seeing her face 
and head when she uncovered them? As for her 
mouth, it is what I wanted to see. Was there 
any crime in seeing what was before my eyes — in 
looking at what I was sent for to treat?" 

"Yes, Doctor, according to the Mohammedan 
law, it was a crime to look at them, and especially 
at her mouth and head. You have defiled her by 
gazing on them, and have placed your life even 
at the mercy of her husband." 

''A crime to look at her face ! Defiled her by 
seeing her mouth and head ! What loas I to do 
when she uncovered herself and exposed them to 
view f 

''It was your solemn duty to turn j'our back 
upon her, and then to walk to the corner of the 
room and hold your face there until she recovered 
herself. That is what our law and customs de- 
mand under such circumstances ; and it is for not 
"doing that precise thing that the old man is angry, 
and is going to report you to his highness." 

Well, let him report as soon as he pleases. 
His highness has lived in Christian countries, and 
he knows that to turn one's back on a lady is an 
offense that no gentleman would think of commit- 
ting. I am not in the least alarmed. But you 
say he has punished his wife. What has he done 
to her?" 

"Oh, yes, he has punished her. I heard both her 
and her mother wailing, and the eunuch told me 
that the Bey had said to her, "I divorce you," tioice, 
and had ordered her to his country place on pro- 
bation for six months, when he would decide 


whether or not to make the divorce absolute by re- 
peating it the third time. Nothing but the prayers 
of her mother has prevented him from divorcing 
her at once and absolutely." 

" Then come with me, I will pay him a visit, and 
after having explained my conduct, having shown 
him that as a Christian and a gentleman I could not 
turn my back on a lady, I will intercede for the 
poor woman." 

''AH right, your excellency. I think that the 
best course to pursue." 

I drove at once to the house of the bey, where I 
was met by the eunuch with many salaams, pro- 
fessions of friendship, and the assurance that his 
master was not at home. ''That is all right," 
said I, slipping a ten-franc piece in his itching 
palm. "I will aAvait his return." I was im- 
mediately invited into the house, given a cup of 
coffee and a pipe, and overwhelmed with politeness, 
while the master was produced after so brief a 
delay as to assure me that he had been at home 
all the time. 

Talk about French politeness ! It is no more to 
be compared to that of an Oriental than a mustard 
seed to a pumpkin. The old bey was as suave and 
as obsequious as if I had been the Khedive himself. 
Although he would have been pleased to thrown 
me in the Nile, he actually embraced me, and 
declared that he and his household were my friends 
and slaves. As w^e sipped our coffee together, I 
made Achmed explain that, never having lived 
in a Mohammedan country before, I was ignorant 
of its customs, and that in Christian lands it was 
regarded as a breach of civility to turn one's back 
on a lady, especially on the wife of a great man and 
an esteemed friend. He professed to be more than 
satisfied, begged me never to think of the occur- 

434 A doctor's experiences 

rence again, and vowed that no other physiciaB 
should ever cross his threshold while 1 remained 
in the country. 

I then tried to put in a word for the wife, hut, 
while he smiled, bowed and looked the very pic- 
ture of amiability, he told Achmed in Turkish — 
knowing that I did not understand the language 
— that if another word was said concerning his 
hareem, or if I was informed of the threat that he.was 
then making, he (Achmed) should receive the hour- 
hashe and be sent to the Soudan, a region which 
in Egypt is placed upon the same plane with the 
"bottomless pit,'' both as regards climate and a 
billet de retour. ^ 

I could learn nothing respecting the fate of the 
unfortunate wife, and I never saw or heard of the 
Bey again while I remained in Egypt. 

It seems that with many women the mouth and 
the back of the head are the pieces de resistance , 
and that the face is vailed for the especial pur- 
pose of guarding their features against masculine 
observation ; this exposure being regarded as the 
ultima tliule of pollution, especially if the woman be 
a wife. 

Though the women of the hareem live only in an 
atmosphere of intrigue, their experience in that re- 
gard is usually confined to plots and aspirations. 
Guarded by mercenary eunuchs, separated from the 
world by every barrier that jealousy can invent^ 
and confrontecl by the certainty of punishment in 
the event of discovery, the current of their lives is 
seldom stirred by the ripple of a real adventure. 

Nevertheless, it sometimes happens even in 
Eastern lands that "love laughs at locksmiths," and 
finds a way to fruition in spite of unsympathizing 
eunuchs and impotent husbands. 

As an illustration of this fact, I will tell you a. 


story as it was told to me by an old Cairoan, who 
vouched for its correctness. 

A few years since a young bey — the son of a rich 
and influential pasha — became enamored of a lady 
occupying a high position in the hareem of a great 
j)ersonage, and his passion was reciprocated. De- 
spite the difficulties and dangers of the situation, 
they succeeded in securing a few hurried interviews, 
and- they deluded themselves with the belief that 
their secret was exclusively confined to their trusted 
and sympathizing attendants. 

She started out one night in her carriage, os- 
tensibly to attend the opera — where a private en- 
trance and a latticed box had been constructed for 
the convenience of women occupying a certain 
position in society — accompanied by three eunuchs, 
one with the coachman and the other two on iiorse- 
back as outriders. As the cortege passed a certain 
secluded spot in the neighborhood of the palace 
it halted for an instant, and a muffled figure 
emerged from the obscurity and entered the car- 
riage, instead of taking the direction of the opera 
house it kept straight on by the Esbeekyah garden, 
over the canal bridge, and into the Choubra road, 
on the opposite side of Cairo. It had just reached 
the rows of acacias which adorn either side of that 
great thoroughfare, when a small detachment of 
policemen sprang from behind the trees, seized the 
bridles of the horses, and stopped the carriage. 
Then, having spoken a few words to the affrighted 
lovers and astonished eunuchs, they carried the 
entire party to the private entrance of Zapteih — the 
principal police station of the city. 

No trial was permitted, but a sentence was pro- 
nounced — and a very speedy and fearful one. The 
eunuch and the coachman disappeared — they were 
doubtless tied up in sacks and thrown into the 

436 A doctor's experiences 

Nile ; while tlie bey was forced into the ranks of 
a regiment en route to Khartoum, and the lady, 
despoiled of her silks and jewels, stripped of her 
vail, and clad in the dress of a peasant, was forced 
to marry a negro soldier — or, in other words, to 
become his cook and washerwoman for the re- 
mainder of her days. 

I cannot vouch for this story, but my friend de- 
clared it to be true, and I have absolute confidence 
in his reliability. 

Family life is in reality unknown among Mus- 
sulmans. The law of the Koran^ which divides 
mankind into two distinct classes — males and fe- 
males — does not permit the existence of a famil}^ 
in which each member lives the same life and 
forms a part of one harmonious menage. The men 
have separate ideas, habits and interests, while the 
women have others, appertaining exclusively to 
themselves. Thus, persons who nominally form a 
part of the same family have absolutely nothing 
in common — neither apartments, goods, furniture 
nor friends. * 

The selamlik and the hareem are virtually two 
separate establishments, in which each occupant 
does just what it pleases him or her self^ — within 
the limits prescribed by Mohammedan etiquette 
and usage. 

The system of segregation upon which Mussul- 
man family life is based^ influenced by the para- 
mount law of self-interest, gives rise to a singular- 
ity which is remarkable. The women on their side 
have their own private affairs. They entertain 
their friends ; they have their own receptions, and 
they amuse themselves in their own fashion, and to 
the extent allowed by their vigilant guardians, the 
eunuchs. In the selamlik the pasha, his friends, de- 
pendents, visitors and guests do the same things, 


spend their time in talking politics, intriguing, 
gossiping, and amusing themselves according to 
the bent of their inclinations. In a word, the men 
and the women live virtually apart, having no 
sentiments or interests or aspirations in common, 
each trying to get all the enjoyment possible out 
of life, without taking heed of the existence of the 

It is generally about 11 p. m. when the pasha 
definitely retires to the hareem. He is received at 
the threshold by the eunuch, who awaits his ap- 
proach with lights in each hand, and then pre- 
cedes him through the entrance hall to the apart- 
ment of his favorite wife or his concubine. 

At the time of rising in the morning\he is at- 
tended by slaves who assist at his toilet and ablu- 
tions^ and when these are completed, he remains 
for a few moments in the hareem to talk with the 
members of his family on any subject that may in- 
terest them, and then hastens to join his friends 
and attendants in his own apartment, within which 
the females of his family seldom intrude them- 

It is only during the brief period in which he 
lingers in the hareem that the ''family circle" has 
any real existence — for the rest of the time it exists 
only in name. 

Such is the prejudice existing among Moham- 
medans against the association of the sexes that a 
woman is considered absolutely defiled after her 
face has been seen by one who has not the right to 
look upon it, or has even spoken to a man ; and it 
is unlawful to bury a female and a male in the 
same tomb without building a stone wall between 
them, upon the assumption, doubtless, that — 

"E'en in their ashes hve their wonted fires." 

438 A doctor's experiences 



My Dear Doctor : 

We were formally presented to the Khedive, who 
received us w^ith great cordiality^ and remarked 
that he hoped we should never have cause to re- 
gret our connection wdth his service, and justice to 
that great man constrains me to say that his con- 
duct was characterized by a spirit of genuine kind- 
ness and absolute liberality during the entire period 
of my residence in Egypt. 

No man has been more abused than Ismail 
Pasha,* and yet impartial history will place him 
in the first rank of rulers and statesmen. The ut- 
ter ruin which has fallen upon his country since 
his abdication, compared wdth its prosperous con- 
dition wdien he controlled its destinies, speaks with 
a trumpet's tongue in his behalf. Forced to abdi- 
cate because his genius and patriotism w^ere stum- 
bling-blocks in the way of England's '^foreign 
policy," a systematic effort has been made to tra- 
duce him, in order to demonstrate the wisdom of 
hir removal. But the great work which he did in 
Egypt, together with the complete chaos and de- 
moralization which have followed his removal, will 
eventually be accepted as his vindication ; and the 
time will come — and speedily — when his restora- 
tion to power will be regarded as the only practi- 

*8ee Appendix (L). 


€al solution of the Egyptian question, as the sole 
means of re-establishing peace and prosperity to 
that distracted country. His son and successor, 
Tewfick Pasha, I met frequently, and know 
well. A more loyal gentleman does not live, but 
he is inherently weak and vacillating. Willing to 
make any sacrifice for his country, but influenced 
by the last man who has his ear, he is utterly in- 
capable of elaborating or of maintaining a policy of 
his own. Emphatically a Turk, and wedded to 
the traditions of the past, he derives his inspira- 
tions exclusively from the Koran. With him as a 
ruler, progress and enlightenment are impossibili- 
ties in Egypt, and the country can only gravitate 
downward toward absolute Mohammedanism, watli 
its concomitant ignorance, superstition and intol- 

Arabi Pasha has been accepted as a patriot and a 
hero by those who are ignorant of his character, and 
misinformed in regard to the real condition of 

Circumstances, it is true, gave some color to his 
pretensions as an apostle of liberty and the cham- 
pion of an oppressed people, but he is intrinsically 
corrupt and incapable of a sentiment untainted by 
egotism and selfishness. 

It is said that he was once drummed out of his 
regiment for peculation, and, though he is a bold 
man, his character is polluted by vices of the low- 
est and the most degraded nature. The people 
rallied around him because of his agrarian princi- 
ples, and from the conviction that he desired to es- 
tablish a regime more decidedly Egyptian than that 
of the Khedive himself, that is to say, more big- 
oted, contracted and fanatical than is possible un- 
der the existing order of things 

Had Ismail reigned at the time, there would 


have been no necessity for English intervention ^ 
for, with the first overt act of rebellion, Arabi 
would have been sent to rusticate in the arid wastes 
of the Soudan or to feed the fishes of the Nile 
nearer home. 

It is Arabi who is really responsible for his 
country's ruin, since he furnished the opportunity 
to England for that active intervention in Egj^ptian 
afi'airs which she had so long and impatiently 
waited for — that excuse for seizing and holding the 
country of which she so gladly availed herself un- 
der the color of avenojino; the so-called massacre of 
Alexandria, and of protecting the Khedive against 
his rebellious subjects. Viewed therefore from 
every possible standpoint, the abdication of Ismail 
Pasha has been an unmixed calamity to Egypt — 
the Pandora box from which the direst calamities 
have been let loose upon that unfortunate country. 

Ismail is still in the prime of a vigorous man- 
hood. Having avoided the excesses which have- 
hurried so many of his predecessors to untimely 
graves, his powers of mind and body have suffered 
no impairment. With his lofty ambition, his im- 
perious will, his indomitable energy, his subtle 
statesmanship and his profound knowledge of the 
necessities of his country, and of the charac- 
ter of its people, he has, in my opinion, a grand 
role still before him. The great powers of Europe, 
wearying of the criminal fiasco which is being 
played upon the banks of the Nile, must soon arise 
in their majesty and compel the only solution which 
common sense and sound diplomacy dictate — the 
immediate restoration of this w^onderful man ta 
the throne which he once so signally adorned by 
his wisdom, courage, enlightenment and thorough 
knowledge of the necessities of his countrymen. 

It has been urged that Ismail is ambitious ; that 


he conquered the Soudan, attempted to annex Abys- 
sinia and desired to buikl up a great African em- 
pire, with himself as its supreme dictator. This is 
undoubtedly true. Such was his dream. But the 
ambition was a noble one, for it meant the reclama- 
tion of millions of untutored savages from barbar- 
ism — the unfurling of the standard of civilization 
and good government over vast territories which 
otherwise must remain under the dominion of ig- 
norance, superstition and fanaticism for centuries 
to come. Surely his was a wiser and a grander 
jjolicy than tiiat which the statesmen of Downing 
street have proclaimed — the entire abandonment 
of the Soudan and of the central African provinces 
to their native population, and the curtailment of 
the blessings of civilization to the restricted limits 
of lower and upper Egypt. 

It is better far to have Ismail Pasha upon the 
Khedival throne, with all his ambition — with as 
capacious an empire as his fondest dreams may 
have mapped out — than to see the light of civiliza- 
tion extinguished for ever in the vast regions which 
he has already reclaimed by the expenditure of such 
a stream of blood, and with such great benefits to 
their people and to the world at large^ simply that 
England may be saved the expense of guarding so 
extensive a line of frontier against a hostile popu- 

He has been accused of ruling with the Kour- 
hacJie alone, and of oppressing his people. I only 
know that, under his domination, the blessings of 
education were brought to the door of every man 
in the country ; that religious freedom was inaugu- 
rated from Aboukir to Wadi Haifa ; that canals 
and railroads were constructed to an extent that 
had never been dreamed of before ; that the area 
of arable land was increased by millions of acres ; 


that the wealth of Egypt was augmented a hun- 
dred fold ; that slavery was abolished and the slave 
trade, in a great measure, suppressed ; that thou- 
sands of foreigners, with talents and material wealth, 
were attracted to the country and induced to con- 
tribute to its prosperity ; that a stimulus was given 
to manufactures and to the art of husbandry un- 
precedented in its influence and consequences ; that 
a land which he found a cheerless desert was con- 
verted into a smiling garden, and that a people 
whom he first knew as a race of nomads were 
transformed into a nation, and given a position of 
honor and influence in the world. I only know 
that, since his expulsion, civilization has retro- 
graded a decade ; that brigandage has taken the 
place of peaceful industry; that rapine and mur- 
der stalk red-handed through the provinces ; that 
poverty has usurped the place of prosperity ; that 
the people generally have become utterly discon- 
tented and demoralized, and that Egypt has lost 
all of the prestige and position which she once pos- 

Shortly after our arrival Ismail Pasha was sum- 
moned hurriedly to Constantinople, and left Egypt 
without having given the necessary orders for our 
, assignment to duty. Having therefore nothing to 
do, I accepted an invitation from General Loring,* 
and spent several weeks with him at Gabara. 

I never passed a more agreeable summer. It is 
true that the midday heat was oppressive to those 
who ventured out of doors, but, ensconced under 
the shelter of the grand veranda, we smoked our 
pipes or drank our iced champagne, or regaled our- 
selves with watermelons from the Ionian Isles and 
fruits from the Gabara gardens, or fought over the 

*See Appendix (X). 


battles of the war, or talked of our distant homes 
and mutual friends, without realizing even that the 
sun shone, while the mornings and evenings were 
cooled by a breeze from the sea that brought 
strength and refreshment in its every breath. 

During this visit I met for the first time General 
Sibley^ the inventor of the tent which bears his 
name, and a soldier who had made his mark in 
three armies — that of the United States, of the 
Confederacy and of the Khedive of Egypt. 

Under his arduous duties his health had com- 
pletely broken down, and I found him a hopeless 
invalid in the protestant hospital, just beyond the 
walls of Alexandria. Acting on my advice, he 
resigned his commission and returned home — to 
spend the remainder of a life, which began so well, 
in poverty and valetudinarianism. 

I also met there my old friend. Colonel Walter 
Jenifer, the real hero of Ball's Bluff, who, after 
distinguishing himself as an ^' inspector of cav- 
alry" — an office for which his tastes and education 
pre-eminently fitted him — was ordered to report 
for duty to the commander of Alexandria, who had 
no cavalry in his command, and was thus forced to 
pass his days in inaction and repining. He re- 
signed soon afterward and there was consequently 
lost to Egypt one of the best officers and truest 
gentlemen that ever entered her service. 

General Frank Reynolds, familiarly known as 
^^Old Gauley," from his gallant defense of a 
bridge over a river of that name in Western Vir- 
ginia, and his son. Colonel Frank Reynolds, were 
also aids to General Loring, and occupied quarters 
in the palace. They were fine specimens of South- 
ern gentlemen and soldiers — as brave as lions, per- 
fectly accomplished in their profession, genial in 
their dispositions, elegant in their manners, and 

444 A doctor's experiences 

wanting for nothing save an opportunity to distin- 
guish themselves and to win the promotion which 
they so much coveted. By a strange fatality, first 
the son, and then the father, died suddenly, the 
one in America and the other in Egypt, to the sor- 
row of their friends and to the misfortune of the 
country in which they had taken service. 

Major Campbell, of Tennessee, another gallant 
Southern soldier, was also a member of General 
Loring's staff, and with him I passed many a 
pleasant hour. Shortly afterward he was ordered 
to join General Gordon in Central Africa, but, 
having contracted a fatal malady at Gondokora, 
he was forced to attempt to return to Cairo for 
medical treatment, but died at Khartoum, where 
he was faithfully nursed and tenderly buried by 
the Sisters of Charity, who have a convent there. 
Campbell had originally been a naval officer, first 
in the service of the United States and afterward 
in that of the Confederacy, and had greatly dis- 
tinguished himself before he went to Egypt. A 
more gallant and loyal man never lived, and I 
mourned his loss as if he had been my own brother. 
I attempted to take care of his effects, but failed in 
the effort. After packing his valuables in a trunk 
I placed it, with several of my own, in the hands 
of a native officer, who promised to guard them 
until they could be sent for, and kept his word by 
breaking them open, appropriating their contents, 
and then sending them to the vacant house in the 
Dowhadieh, which I had used as my dispensary. 
I placed also in the hands of this individual a 
number of family portraits, which he pretended to 
hang upon the walls of his house for safe keeping 
and ended by selling them for what they would 
bring. I actually had to repurchase several of 
these portraits, while the most valuable — that of 


my elder daughter — could never be found. When 
questioned by the American consul^ he simply de- 
clared that he had never seen either trunks or pic- 
tures, and that their loss did not concern him in 
the least. Such is Mohammedan honesty when 
the property of Christians is concerned! 

The only thing of value which escaped his jdII- 
fering fingers was a wedding-vail, which had orig- 
inally cost a thoLisand dollars and was the gift of 
old Mr. James C. Johnstone to my wife. That, 
fortunately, happened to be enveloped in a child's 
calico dress, and eluded the search of my friend 
and comrade, much to our delight, as you may im- 

With the return of the Khedive, I hastened to 
Cairo, and was rejoiced by the immediate issue of 
an order assigning me to duty as the '^ chief sur- 
geon of the general staff," which gave me work 
to do, and enabled me to draw my pay and allow- 

My first important patient was the assistant 
minister of war, to whom I was sent by a formal 
order from the ministry. 

On arriving at the sick man's house, I found a 
number of physicians assembled, as a formal ''con- 
•sultation " had been commanded, and I thus had 
an opportunity of learning the meaning of that 
term as it is understood in Egypt. After an ex- 
change of compliments and a cup of coffee,* we 
were ushered into the sick chamber, and each phy- 
sician — beginning with the youngest and ending 
with the eldest — proceeded to make sach an exam- 
ination as his judgment suggested. We then ad- 
journed to the garden, where an exchange of views 
was had. Each doctor in turn — beginning again 

*See Appendix (M). 

446 A doctor's experiences 

with the youngest — gave a lecture on medicine 
generally, parading all the knowledge which he 
possessed but scarcely touching the case, and ended 
by declaring that the ''patient was paralyzed, and 
should be blistered and given calomel." 

When my turn came I declined to say a word 
until I had heard from all the rest — putting it 
upon the ground of politeness — and finally aston- 
ished them by the announcement that the Pasha was 
not paralyzed in the least, but was suffering from 
rheumatism accompanied by great prostration, and 
that the treatment indicated was the iodide of pot- 
ash and proper nourishment. With one voice they 
exclaimed: "Not paralyzed! He can't move a 
muscle. Kheumatism! He has not a symptom. 
Nourishment ! He will die if you attempt to feed 

1 then invited them into the chamber, and, by 
much persuasion, induced the patient to change 
the position of each limb by an effort of will, 
pointed out the symptoms of rheumatism which 
were present, and told them that " if a patient 
who had been purged with salts and fed exclu- 
sively on a soup made of vegetables for two weeks 
did not require nourishment, I knew nothing 
about medicine." They, then, to a man, appar- 
ently changed their views, agreed with me en- 
tirely, and, promising that my plan of treatment 
should be faithfully pursued, invited me to meet 
them again at the same hour on the succeeding 
day. 1 was triumphant; I thought my victory 
complete; and I believed that I had saved the 
Pasha from the grave to which his medical attend- 
ants were fast consigning him. 

On the following day I repaired to the pasha's 
house, ready for the "consultation," and believing 
that I should be able to point out decided evidence 


of improvement in his condition. Judge therefore 
of my suprise when I discovered not a sign of life 
about the premises, when no doctors put in an ap- 
pearance and when I ascertained that the invalid 
and his entire family had been spirited away, no 
one could tell me whither. 

The pretended change of views among the doctors, 
the proposition to meet them in another "consul- 
tation," and the removal and concealment of the 
piatient, were all parts of a cunning ruse to get rid 
of me, and to treat the pasha according to their o\vn 
ideas. It was in vain that I appealed to the min- 
ister of war; for my confreres had forestalled me, 
and convinced his excellency the course pursued 
was necessary for the invalid's safety — that my 
plan of treatment involved his certain death, and 
justified the employment of the most extreme 
measures to keep him out of my hands. Such is 
medical etiquette on the banks of the Nile. This 
was their day of triumph — mine came afterward. 

A short time subsequent to-i^his event I was 
summoned hurriedly to a '^ consultation" at the 
house of Kassim Pasha — the patient being no less 
a person than the minister of war himself. He 
was suffering from hernia, the intestine having 
descended into the scrotum, and become incarce- 
rated there. I advised that he should be put under 
the influence of chloroform, that taxis should then 
be attempted, and that the o]3eration of herniotomy 
should be instantl}^ performed if all other means 
failed to effect reduction. My advice was rejected 
of course, and I immediately retired. Three days 
afterward I was again summoned, to find that re- 
duction had not been effected and that symptoms of 
strangulation — stercoraceous vomiting and great 
depression — had manifested themselves. 

After a thorough examination of the case I be- 

448 A doctor's experie^t'es 

came convinced that the incarcerated intestine was 
not materially injured, and that much of the de- 
pression was due not so much to the disease as to 
the injections of tobacco, which had been liberally 
employed to induce relaxation, and I boldly declared 
that the pasha could be saved, as desperate as his 
condition seemed. Having stimulated him freely 
with brandy and water — which the natives con- 
sidered unholy treatment — I had the gratification 
of seeing some reaction established ; and I deter- 
mined to administer chloroform, and then either to 
reduce the tumor by taxis, or to perform heriotomy^ 
as the circumstances required. I found however 
great difficulty in inducing any medical man to 
assist me. They all retired, and declared that tlie3' 
would have "nothing to do with the murder of the 
Pasha." The hareem, through the chief eunuch, 
insisted that I should not proceed until the private 
physician of the Khedive * — a Frenchman — had 
given his consent. He was accordingly sent for, 
and asked what he thought of the measure which 
I had proposed ? He rej)lied that he " believed the 
pasha would die inevitably, but was in favor of 
permitting me to proceed, as every man was en- 
titled to his chance." I then requested him to aid 
me to the extent of administering chloroform. This 
he agreed to do on condition that I would assume 
all the responsibility of the case, and give him time 
to dispatch a messenger to the Khedive to inform him 
upon what terms he had consented to aid me. In the 
presence of all the principal pashas, beys, and 
officials of the court, the minister was removed 
from his bed and placed upon a mattress in the 
middle of the room. None of the female portion of 
the household were present ; but they were repre- 

See Ax3penclix (0). 


sented by the chief eunuch, who stood at the feet of 
the invalid, shouting, ^' Allah ! Allah! Allah! 
Inshallah ! Inshallah ! Inshallah ! while from 
the latticed hareem in the rear there came con- 
tinually that peculiar wail which seems to form the 
principal feature in the mourning of the East. 
With the exception of the French physician, all the 
surgeons deserted the chamber and stood in the 
little garden outside of the house^some praying 
that the sick man might be saved, but the majority 
cursing the stranger who had the temerity to un- 
dertake that which they had pronounced impossible. 

At this moment an American officer of high 
position took me aside and said: ^'Dr. Warren, 
consider well what you are undertaking ; success 
means honor and fortune for you in this country, 
while failure means ruin to you and injury to 
those who are identified with you." 

I replied : '' 1 thank you for your caution, but I 
was taught by my father to disregard all personal 
considerations in the practice of medicine, and to 
think only of the interests of my patients. I shall, 
therefore, do that which my professional duty re- 
quires, and let the consequences take care of them- 

Having made all the preparations necessary to 
perform herniotomy, should that operation become 
necessary, I boldly administered chloroform, al- 
though the patient was in a state of great depres- 
sion. To my delight aneesthesia was promptly de- 
veloped^ while the circulation improved with every 
inspiration — just as I had previously observed in 
some cases of shock upon the battle-field. Confid- 
ing the administration of the chloroform to the 
French physician, I then proceeded to examine the 
tumor and to attempt its reduction. I found an 
immense hydrocele, and, by the side of it, a hernia 

450 A doctor's experiences 

of no unusual dimensions, which, by a rather forci- 
ble manipulation, I completely reduced after a 
few moments of effort. By this time the surgeons, 
unable to restrain their curiosity, had entered the 
room and crowded around the couch of the sick 
man, anxiously awaiting the failure which they 
had so blatantly predicted. Turning to Mehemit 
Ali Pasha^ the professor of surgery in the medical 
school of Cairo, I said to him : •' The hernia is re- 
duced, as you can determine by pushing your finger 
into the external ring." 

''Excuse me," he said, in the most supercilious 
manner, ''you have undertaken to cure Kassim 
Pasha, and I can give you no help in the matter." 

My French friend immediately introduced his 
finger into thering and said : ""Gentlemen, he needs 
no help from any one ; the hernia is reduced, and 
the pasha is saved." 

The doctors slunk away utterly discomfited, the 
eunuchs, pashas, beys, and officers uttered loud 
cries of " Hamdallah ! Hamdallah ! Kismet! Kis- 
met! Kismet!" and the hareem in the rear, catch- 
ing the inspiration of the scene, sent up a shout of 
joy which sounded like the war-whoop of a tribe of 

In a moment I was seized by the chief eunuch, 
embraced in the most impressive manner, and 
kissed on either cheek — an example which was im- 
mediately followed by a number of those present — 
and I found myself the most famous man in Egypt. 
The Pasha at once had a letter addressed to the 
Khedive narrating the circumstances, and asking 
that I might be decorated and made a bey. His 
highness sent for me, thanked me warmly for hav- 
ing saved the life of his favorite minister, and 
stated that he had ordered that I should be made a 
bey, and receive the decoration of the Medidjieh. 


The liareem presented me with a beautiful gold 
watch and chain ; my house was thronged for sev- 
eral davs afterward with the his^hest dio^nitaries of 
the country, who came to thank and congratulate 
me ; and I immediately secured an immense prac- 
tice, including every incurable case in Cairo. 

To make assurance doubly sure, and to prevent 
the possibility of trickery on the part of my con- 
freres^ I took up my residence in his palace, carry- 
ing William with me, and, for two weeks, never 
permitted the Pasha to be out of the sight of one 
of us, except when his wife visited him^ as I knew 
that my baffled and jealous colleagues would hesi- 
tate at nothing to rob me of the fruits of my vic- 

Kassim Pasha was a Greek by birth, having 
been captured when a boy and sold into slavery. 
He subsequently embraced the Mohammedan faith, 
and, by the force of his will and intellect rose to 
be the minister of war of Egypt, and, next to the 
Khedive, the most important man in the country. 
He had but one wife, but his hareem was filled with 
female slaves, twelve of whom waited on him con- 
tinually during his illness, and were rewarded 
afterward by being given in marriage to twelve 
young men selected from the retinue of the Pasha, 
each receiving a handsome c^o^ on her wedding day. 

When the wife visited him — as she did twice 
daily — I was conducted into an adjoining chamber, 
and was never permitted to see her, though she 
sent a messenger every morning to inquire after 
my health, and to present her thanks and compli- 
ments. She subsequently became quite intimate 
with the female members of my family, who assured 
me that she was a charming woman, handsome in 
person, refined in manners^ devoted to her husband, 
and fitted to grace any court in the world. Un- 

452 A doctor's EXPEIilEXCES 

fortunately they had no children, and the heir ap- 
parent of their titles and estates was a young scape- 
grace named Askalon-Bey, the nephew of the 
Pasha, who, though a Christian by birth and edu- 
cation, had turned Mussulman for the sake of the 
inheritance. He spent his days in idleness and dis- 
sipation, much to the sorrow of his relations, who 
had sought him in his own country and brought 
him to Egypt, as a solace and support in their de- 
clining years. 

Kassim Pasha recovered perfectly, and a short 
time afterward was made governor of Cairo, in 
order to make room in the war office for Houssein 
Pasha, the second son of the Khedive, and a young 
man of much ability and promise. 

During the entire period of my residence in Egypt 
I found Kassim a warm friend and a powerful j^ro- 
tector, and I am convinced that but for him my 
bones would be to-day bleaching in the sands of 
the desert or moldering in some jungle of Central 

Shortly after my departure from Cairo he was 
seized with an apoplectic fit, and died after a few 
hours, without recovering consciousness. Moham- 
medan as he was, there beat a kind and loyal heart 
in his bosom, and in the "great day" of final 
judgment, it seems to me, he will have as good 
a show for favor and forgiveness as some of the so- 
called saints in the calendar. ^^Bequiescatin j^cwe.'^ 




My Dear Doctor : 

Among those who subsequently fell into my 
hands as patients was the aforesaid assistant min- 
ister of war, who was so near death's door from the 
treatment which he had received from his doctors 
that I undertook his case with many apprehensions 
for the result, and only on condition that none of 
the ''consultants" should visit him again. I am 
pleased to be able to state that after a long struggle 
he " pulled through," and manifested his gratitude 
by a handsome present in Egyptian pounds. 

I was also called to a pasha — one of the wealthiest 
and best-connected in Egypt — who had been for a 
long time insane. As he was suffering from gen- 
eral paralysis there was nothing to be done for 
him, but his case proved very interesting, as I 
learned from it the peculiar ideas of the people of 
that country in regard to persons of deficient or 
defective intellect. The popular belief is that an 
idiotic or an insane man is the special favorite of 
God, and that his soul had been translated to 
heaven and his body left behind for the special 
care and veneration of his friends and family. He 
is, therefore, overwhelmed with kindnesses, and, 
in fact, he is worshiped as a saint by all around 
him. The strangest part of the superstition in re- 
gard to these poor unfortunates is, that relations 
with them are regarded as an infallible cure for 

454 A doctor's experiences 

barrenness in women, and that they are ipso facto 
hallowed in the sight of men and heaven. It is 
not believed that conception is the result of such 
an embrace, bat that the physical condition which 
interferes with the husband's aspirations is re- 
moved by it, and the way prepared for legitimate 
impregnation. When it is born in mind that the 
state of pregnancy is esteemed one of special honor 
and privilege — that no wife can be divorced during 
its existence, and no slave can be sold who has 
given birth to a child — it is easy to understand the 
estimation in which a lunatic* is held in that 

Many a lazy and impecunious wretch among the 
lower classes takes advantage of this superstition to 
affect insanity and to assume the saintly role^ so 
that he may be clothed, fed and tenderly nursed 
by the women of his neighborhood for the remain- 
der of his days. Indeed, lunacy is about as "short 
a road ' ' to ease and independence as can be con- 
ceived of, and it is not surprising that it should be 
followed as a vocation under the circumstances. 

I had quite an amusing adventure with Amein 
Pasha, who was minister of war under Abbas 
Pasha, t and one of the principal instruments of his 
cruelty and oppression. He lived in a magnificent 
palace, on the island of Khoda, and, though he had 
been blind for twenty years, he sent for me and 
ordered me to cure him. I told him frankly that 
I could not relieve him, but he insisted on treat- 
ment, and I was compelled to gratify his wishes, 
and to do something for his eyes, though both pu- 
pils and retina3 were absolutely insensible to light. 
While treating him, his youngest daughter, a beau- 
tiful girl of sixteen, was attacked with typhoid 

*See Appendix (P). f^^^ee Appendix (Q). 


fever, and as he loved lier dearly and regarded 
me as inspired — the embodiment of Kismet"^ — he 
placed her under my professional charge. She 
fortunately recovered after several weeks of severe 
illness, and though I did not restore his sight, I 
necessarily had a large medical bill against him. 
When the first of the year arrived, I sent him his 
bill, with a polite note calling his attention to it, 
and requesting its payment. To my astonishment, 
his luakeel appeared at my house on the next day, 
the bearer of an indignant protest from his master 
against being '^ dunned as a fellah," and the state- 
ment that my charge was excessive^ as he could 
prove by every slave on the premises that I had 
not paid more than half a dozen visits during the 
year. I was in a state of utter perplexity, and 
seeking James Sanua, my Arabic teacher, I stated 
the matter to him and requested an explanation. 
He informed me that I had committed a great 
breach of etiquette in sending a bill to a pasha, as 
it was not the custom of the country to do so, and 
that every man of position considered it his privi- 
lege to resist anything like a '^ claim" against him. 
I therefore had a polite note written to his excel- 
lency, expressing great regret at the mistake which 
had been made in sending a bill '^to so distin- 
guished a person," and assuring him that he owed 
me nothing, but that I considered it a great honor 
to prescribe for him and his family. Some weeks 
afterward his ivakeel paid another visit to my 
house, bringing with him a larger sum than I had 
originally demanded, which he begged me to ac- 
cept as a cadeau from his master, " who was very 
grateful for my kind attentions to him and his 

See Appendix (R). 

456 A doctor's experiexces 

daughter — whose life he believed T had saved, hy 
the heli^ of Allah." 

I remembered this lesson, and never again sent 
a medical bill to a pasha, and though in one in- 
stance the only recompense that I received for 
several weeks' attendance was a dried beef tongue, 
I was, as a general rule, liberally rewarded for my 
professional services. 

I was sitting alone in my office, dreadfully de- 
pressed in spirits because of the death of our baby, 
and only partially recovered from the attack of 
ophthalmia, when a courier entered, and informed 
me that Houssein Pasha, the minister of war, de- 
sired to see me at the earliest possible moment. 
Ordering my carriage, and tying a handkerchief 
over my suffering eyes, I hurried to the Citadel 
and presented myself to the prime minister. He 
received me with great kindness, commiserated 
with me on the loss of my child and the pain 
which I had suffered, and informed me that he had 
something to communicate which would '' gladden 
my heart," and make me '^forget my sorrows." 
I thanked him warmly, and inquired what it was 
that he had to communicate. He said that he and 
his father had had their eyes on me ever since I 
saved the life of Kassim Pasha, and seeing that I 
was faithful in the performance of my duty, they 
had determined to promote me to the position of 
Hakim Bashi Gahadeih, or, in other words, to 
make me the chief surgeon of the department of 
loar. My heart gave one great bound, and the 
tears came unbidden into my eyes, for the position 
was the highest that a medical man could attain in 
Egypt, and my elevation to it was the greatest 
compliment that his highness could pay to any 
one. With a bosom overflowing with gratified 
pride and a sense of supreme obligation, I ac- 


cepted the promotion, and assured him tha't, if 
L3ya,lty to him and to the Khedive, and devotiaoto- 
the duties of the office, could constitute a recom- 
pense for the kind consideration which had sug- 
gested my selection, there should be no default of 
payment upon my part. 

He then went on to say that venality had beert 
the curse of Egypt, and that it had specially per- 
vaded the medical staff of the army, prompting to> 
the rejection of the healthiest recruits ; to the fur- 
loughing or discharge of the most vigorous sol- 
diers, and to the retention upon the muster rolls oF 
many who were physically incapable of performing- 
military duty. He informed me, likewise, that it 
was the Khedive's purpose to add about twent3r 
thousand picked men to the army ;* that he de- 
sired me to examine personally every recruit, 
rejected by the native surgeons, and he shouldl 
order before me every soldier who had been fur- 
loughed or discharged within two years, and all 
who had served for more than fifteen years, in 
order that I might restore to the army sudi as. 
were in physical condition to perform duty, or dis- 
charge from it the really infirm and incompetent. 
'^All I ask of you," he added, ''is to do this duty 
with the same honesty and fidelity as have charac- 
terized your conduct in all other regards since yc^ur 
arrival in Egypt." 

I obeyed his instructions to the letter, subjecting- 
every rejected recruit, furloughed or discharged 
soldier and dilapidated veteran to the most search- 
ing examination — with the result of exposing 
many a case of "bribery and corruption," and of 
materially increasing the efficiency of the army^ 
The cunning emjoloyed by those who sought to 

See Appendix (S). 


€va(le the service surpassed anything that I had 
ever conceived of, and it was only by the most critical 
investigation, and liberal use of chloroform as an 
angesthetic, that I was enabled to distinguish be- 
tween cases of malingering and of genuine disease. 
It was not an uncommon thing, also, for them to 
sacrifice an eye or a finger, in the vain hope of 
securing exemption, although, since the days of 
Mehemet Ali — who formed regiments of one-eyed 
and four-fingered men — such mutilations are not 
regarded in Egypt as constituting veritable disa- 
bilities, while they never fail to invite severe pun- 

The veterans excited my most profound pity. 
When too old or infirm to bear arms, and not rich 
enough to purchase discharges, it had been the 
custom to consign them to the quarries and to treat 
them as criminals for the rest of their days. Could 
you have seen them when they were first brought 
before me, with their unkept and matted beards, 
their bent and emaciated frames, their sightless or 
still inflamed eyes and their torn and dirty cloth- 
ing — the ver}^ illustration of prolonged suff'ering 
■and of utter despair — your heart would have bled 
for them as mine did. And then could you have 
witnessed the change which came over them, when, 
from the lips of the dreaded and hated Christian there 
came the words : ^' Let these men be discharged and 
sent to their homes," you would have esteemed it a 
privilege to be Hakim Bashi Gahadeih, and the 
representative of all the power and absolutism of 
the great Khedive. 

I felt that I was at once doing God's service and 
strengthening the hands of the government when 
I discharged these men from the army, and I did 
it with so liberal a hand that the work in the quar- 
ries was actually suspended until a supply of veri- 


table convicts could be had to take the places of 
these old soldiers, many of whom were covered 
with the wounds which they had received in carry- 
ing the standard of Mehemet Ali to the gates of 

Their Hamdallahs still ring pleasantly in my 
ears, and if it should ever be my fortune to find a 
place in the better land, I shall believe that the 
prayers of these stricken and forsaken 0I4 men 
helped to purchase it for me. Nothing that I have 
6ver done in life has afforded me more satisfaction , 
more real and enduring pleasure, than the libera- 
tion of these despairing veterans from the life of 
wretchedness to which their age, their infirmities 
and their poverty had consigned them. 

Before those days there were but two avenues of 
escape for the unfortunate wretch whose evil genius 
had recorded his name upon the muster-roll of the 
Egyptian army, viz: through the golden gate and 
through the portals of the tomb, by the purchase 
of his discharge or the '^handing in of his chips," in 
mining camp phraseology. 

Many indirect attempts were rnade to bribe me * 
and finally two ofiicers under orders for the Sou- 
dan came into my ofiice and proposed to pay me 
£100 each for a certificate of disability. I pre- 
tended not to understand their propositions, and 
instructed Achmed to engage them in conversation 
while I hurried to the prime minister to inform him 
of what had occurred. He ordered their immediate 
arrest, but when I returned with the guard to seize 
them they had disappeared and could not be found. 

After the lapse of a few weeks the prime minis- 
ter informed me that he was in trouble ; that rely- 
ing upon the data which I had furnished, he had 

See Appendix (T). 


caused the arrest of an officer en route to Khartoum 
for ''offering a bribe to the chief surgeon of the 
war department," but that the supposed culprit 
had protested his innocence, and had appealed to 
the Khedive for protection, making out so strong a 
case of alibi as to convince his highness that an in- 
nocent man had been confounded with a guilty 
one. I relieved him somewhat by again describing 
the offender, offering to take the entire burden of 
responsibility upon my shoulders, and assuring him 
that both my dragoman and I C(mld identify the 
real offender at a glance. 

With great difficulty he induced his father ta 
withhold the order for the officer's release, and ta 
issue another commanding him to be brought to 
Cairo and confronted with me. The prince was in 
a state of chronic anxiety until the arrival of the 
individual in question, but he acted with great 
fairness toward the accused, by placing him in the 
midst of a group of officers, and calling upon me 
to indicate the guilty party, without furnishing the 
slightest guide to his identification. 

Neither Achmed nor I had the least difficulty in 
pointing out the real offender, and, notwithstand- 
ing his oaths, protestations and pretended proofs 
of an alibi, he was adjudged guilty by the Khedive, 
and punished according to his deserts, i. e., was- 
reduced to the ranks and sent to the Soudan. 

Shortly after this incident, and just when I con- 
sidered myself most firmly established in my place, 
an event occurred which showed the uncertainty 
of things in Cairo, and demonstrated that I had 
both bitter enemies and strong friends at court. 
One night at a late hour there was a ring at my 
bell, and as the servants had retired I answered it 
in person. To my astonishment, I found a high 
official at the door, from whose excited manner I 


nt once augured evil tidings, and when lie invited 
me to drive on the Shoubra road as he had ^' an im- 
portant communication to make," I felt that a 
crisis in my fate had -arrived. I joined him at once, 
and so soon as we were fairly in the country, he 
said to me: " I have something to tell you which I 
was afraid to utter '^ within walls." I am just 
from the palace, where I have learned that an or- 
der will be issued to-morrow assigning you to the 
expedition about to start for Darfour, and I have 
come to inform you of it, in order that you may 
■escape the service if possible." 

''To Darfour? Can it be possible? I entered 
the service with a distinct understanding that I 
should reside in Cairo. I care not so much for the 
risk to myself as for the separation from my family. 
What has the prince minister to say on the sub- 

>'?" . . . . 

•' The order will certainly be issued in the morn- 
ins". I had it from the Khedive himself. The 
histor}^ of the matter is about this : His highness 
having been induced to believe that Darfour is rich 
in minerals, has for some time been anxious to send 
a competent man there to investigate them. Your 
name was saggestecl to him a few weeks since, but 
the prince minister having opposed it warmly upon 
the ground of the value of your services p.s chief 
surgeon of his department, the plan was abandoned. 
8ince then he has been induced to reconsider the 
matter by the representation that you alone can be 
trusted with the task ; that your assistant can 
carr}^ on the work of your office until your return, 
and that you can complete the examination and 
return within six months without detriment to 
3'ourself, and, regardless of the protest of the min- 
ister of war, he has finally concluded to send you. 
I assure you, my friend, that it is a settled fact — 

462 A doctor's experiences 

the order will assuredly be issued to-morrow, and 
you must be prepared to meet it. I only wish the 
Khedive thoroughly understood the situation and 
thought less of you and more of some one else — 
some younger man better able to stand a journey 
to that pestilential region, which he has been made 
to believe is a second California/' 

1 took in the whole situation at a glance. I saw 
that some craftv enemy had availed himself of the 
Khedive's confidence in me to induce him to re- 
quire a service which must either be accepted at 
the hazard of my life or declined with the cer« 
tainty of being dismissed from the army. In a 
word, I realized that I had to meet one of the most 
serious questions of my life — to baiile an intrigue 
which had been elaborated with consummate skill 
for the purpose of forcing me to decide between the 
alternatives of going to my death in Darfour or of 
returning in disgrace to America. 

"The case is a desperate one and demands des- 
perate measures," I remarked. " This separation 
from my wife and family — this leaving them in 
Egypt unprotected and friendless — will kill me of 
itself. What would you advise, doctor?" 

" Yes, it is a serious matter," he answered, ''for, 
in my judgment, you will never return from Dar- 
four — you will never see your wife and children 
again. At your age, and with your susceptibility 
to malaria — which the Khedive knows nothing 
about, unfortunately — you will die on the journey. 
If I were in your place I would resign to-night 
through the American consul and place myself 
under his protection to-morrow." 

'^Alas, my friend, you know nothing about Amer- 
ican politics. Nine-tenths of those who are now in 
office were appointed when sectional hatred was at a 
premium, and they have not yet learned to regard a 


quondam rebel as an American citizen. The consul ^ 
though a very amiable man, is a strong partisan, 
and he would no more join issue with the Khedive 
on my account than he would throw himself into 
the Nile. There is no hope from that direction." 

'^Then really, my dear doctor, I do not know what 
to suggest. I have done all in my power to serve 
you. I have warned you at the hazard of my 
position and perhaps of my life. Go home and 
consult with your wife, and it may be that you and 
she together can think out some plan which will 
enable you to escape the dangers of the coming 

^' Good night, my kind friend. We are not far 
from my house and I will get out and walk home so 
as to avoid observation. Be assured that you leave 
me with a heavy heart, but one filled with gratis 
tude to you for what you have done and risked in 
my behalf. I will devote the remainder of the 
night to reflection, and with God's help I hope to 
find a way out of the difficulties and dangers 
which surround me. May heaven remember you 
for your kindness to me and to mine." 

Neither my wife nor I slept that night, but we 
spent its long and lonely hours in consulting on 
the situation, and in devising a method for my es- 
cape. Before the morning dawned we had elabor- 
ated a plan by which we hoped to thwart the ma- 
chinations of those who had plotted for my destruc- 
tion, and were rejoicing over the blow which was 
to fall without warning, as they supposed, on my 
devoted head, when the war office opened that 

Before the sun rose I sent the ever-faithful 
William, with my carriage, to the house of Doctor 
Kassim Effendi — the second medical officer of the 
war department — praying him to come instantly 


to my lioase ; and on his arrival I begged liim to 
examine and to prescribe for my eye, which was 
much inflamed and very painful. Flattered im- 
measurably by this mark of confidence on the part 
of his chief, he complied with my request in the 
OQiost elaborate manner, recommending among 
•other measures that I should remain in bed and in 
a darkened room for some time to come. ^' Since 
you condemn me to remain in bed, Doctor, and 
thus render it impossible for me to attend to my 
office, I must ask you to take charge of it until I 
a,m convalescent," I remarked in the most friendly 

" Certainly, excellence, I will take great pleas- 
ure in representing you, and you may rest assured 
that everything shall be conducted as you desire," 
-was his flattered response. 

'^ Well, that being settled to my satisfaction, I 
must ask another favor of you," said I. "It is my 
I'ule always to be in my office when the Prince ar- 
xives, and official business begins. It is important 
that you shall be equally punctual, and in order that 
you may be there in time and altogether en regie, 
I must ask you to place my name on the " sick re- 
port " and to hand it in before the minister arrives, 
so that it may be the first official paper acted on 
to-da,y. William and my carriage are at your dis- 
posal so that there may be no possibility of delay 
in this matter, as promptitude is as important to 
you as to me." 

^' You may count on me, excellence. The pre- 
sentation of the ' sick report ' shall be the first 
thing done at the Citadel to-day, and I will be in 
your office, and at work, when the Prince arrives," 
he answered with enthusiasm, as he started off on 
the mission, never dreaming that an order was in 
existence which only required the signature of the 


minister to make him the master of the office for 
six months to come, and, perhaps, for the remainder 
of his days. He kept his promise, and I was re- 
ported as being " sick with ophthalmia and incapa- 
t)le of performing military duty " before the order 
sending me to Darfour had been signed and issued. 

The "sick report" is respected in the service of 
every civilized nation — including Egypt — and once 
enrolled upon it, I knew that I had baffl.ed my 
enemies, and had averted the ruin which they had 
so cunningly prepared for me. 

This was the scheme which I had thought out 
during the long watches of that night of the drive 
upon the Shoubra, under the inspiration of my 
wife's tearful eyes and the innocent faces of my 
sleeping children ; and had there been no other 
grounds for the refuge which I sought and found under 
the protecting wings of the " sick report," I should 
expect God's forgiveness for the ruse by which I pre- 
served my own life, and saved those who were 
dearest to me from unutterable anguish. As an 
-actual fact, however my eye was in a sad state, 
and 1 really needed the course of treatment which it 
so unexpectedly received at the hands of my de- 
lighted subordinate, the assistant medical director 
of the war department. 

Kassim Effendi was closely catechised that day 
l)y more than one anxious official, including the 
prince minister, who, to the surprise of every one, 
laughed heartily when informed of my sufferings; 
l)ut as they gave him no hint as to the motives of 
their seeming solicitude, and he was in blissful ig- 
norance respecting the comedy in which he was 
playing so leading a part, he only told, in moving 
terms, of his early summons to my house, of the 
alarming condition of my eye, and of the injunc- 


tiori under which lie had placed me to keep my bed 
for some time to come. 

Under the guise of a friendly interest several 
officers, native and foreign, called at my house 
that day, and in the exuberance of their fraternal 
solicitude even insisted upon examining the suffer- 
ing eye, little dreaming that I knew them to be 
only tools and spies, and was using them for my 
own purposes, while I returned their expressions- 
of sympathy and said "Amen" to their prayers 
for my speedy restoration to health. Their pious 
petitions availed nothing, however, for I lay in a 
darkened room, a martyr to leeches, blisters, lo- 
tions, and compresses for more than two weeks — 
long enough for the Darfour explorers to reach 
Suakim and to journey half way over the desert 
which separates it from the since famous town of 
Berber, on the Nile. Nevertheless, 1 am sure 
that, but for the enforced and heroic treatment 
which the eye received at the time — but for this^ 
prospective trip to Darfour — I should have taxed 
it beyond the point of recovery, and have lost my 
vision in the excess of my zeal for the Khedive's 
service. 1 really had long desired to submit it to- 
a prolonged rest and appropriate treatment, but I 
had failed to do so from a fear of losing my j^lace 
at the Citadel, and, perhaps, my position in the 

The only person who seemed to suspect that I 
had received 23rivate information in regard to this 
conspiracy was the prince minister himself. The 
peculiar manner in which he received Kassim's- 
pathetic description of my sufferings and the fact 
that on my first visit after my recovery he greeted 
me most cordially, and, with a merry twinkle in 
his eye, remarked, "ilicw'-s, vous etes tres fi7t, mon 
Docteur,'' have always suggested the suspicion 


that he sent the friend who warned me of the im- 
pending danger. I may he. wrong in this infer- 
ence, but I have liked him none the less for it, I 
can assure you. 

The next time that I saw Colonel Prout* — the 
commander of the expedition with which I was to 
have been associated — was some two years after 
its departure from Cairo. He had made a thor- 
ough exploration of Darfour and Kardofan ; he 
had attracted the attention of Gordon, and risen 
to the position of assistant governor-general of the 
Soudan ; and he had advanced other men by his 
successes and covered himself with glory as an ex- 
plorer and a scientist ; but his health was irretriev- 
ably ruined, and he seemed only a specter of the 
healthy and handsome young man I had known in 
Egypt. "My God, Doctor!" he exclaimed, "thank 
your good angel forever for that game eye of yours, 
for it saved you from countless sufferings and from 
certain death. The German doctor who was sent 
as your substitute died in less than six months 
from the day of his departure. The bones of at least 
two-thirds of my command were picked by the 
hyenas before I reached Darfour. My own liver 
was changed into a nutmeg and my blood into 
water before I had half completed my task. If 
you had survived the hardships of the journey you 
would have succumbed to the malaria of the country 
to a dead certainty." 

When I told him the story of the friendly warn- 
ing on the Shubra road, of my appeal to Kassim's 
sympathy and science, and of my resort to the 
protecting gegis of the " sick report," he added: 
" Cherish that friend as the best that you have had 
in life, a^nd invest your 'bottom dollar' in a monu- 


See Appendix (U). 

468 A doctor's experiences j 

ment to his memory when he has been called to his 
account, for as sure as the sun shines you owe your 
life to his courage and devotion." 

The friend who thus risked his position and his 
life to save me was Doctor Abatte, the Italian phy- 
sician of whom I have already spoken, and who, I 
am happy to tell you, has recently been promoted 
to the distinguished position of special physician 
to Tewfick Pasha, the present Viceroy of Egypt. 

Invested with the title and the dignities of a 
pasha, in the enjoyment of a princely salary, and 
universally beloved and honored by the people of 
his adopted country, Heaven seems to have already 
rewarded him for his loyalty and devotion to the 
stranger whose only claim to consideration con- 
sisted in the fact that he was a confrere^ surrounded 
by enemies and doomed to destruction. 

While consciousness and identity remain I shall 
remember his kindness, and pray for his happiness 
both temporal and eternal. 

"Come immediately to Shepard's Hotel to see 
Dr. Crane, of New York," was a message which I 
received shortly after my recovery. Hurrjdng after 
the messenger, I found that Dr. J. J. Crane — one 
of the most distinguished physicians of New^ York 
— had been thrown by the stumbling of a donkey 
and had broken his arm midway betw^een the 
shoulder and the elbow. A physician attached to 
the hotel — and w^ho, of course, had been recom- 
mended as the '^ best surgeon in Cairo " — had at- 
tempted to reduce the fracture, but the continuous 
pain in the part with other indications convinced 
tlie patient that there was something wrong in the 
adjustment of the fragments. As the "best sur- 
geon in Cairo " could not be found at the moment 
and the case was pressing, w^ith William's assist- 
ance I removed the dressings, coaptated the frag- 


ments, applied the necessary splints and bandages, 
and in the end had the gratification of finding the 
member restored to its normal status 

I thus made the acquaintance of one of the ablest 
physicians and best men that I have ever known, 
and sowed the seeds of a friendship from which 
many a pleasant hour of social intercourse and an 
abundant measure of professional success have been 
the harvest. 

In the first place he turned a deaf ear to my ob- 
jections to receive a fee, and insisted on paying me 
just such a sum as he would have charged a rich pa- 
tient under similar circumstances; and in the second, 
it has been in a great measure through his interven- 
tion and recommendation that I have succeeded in 
Paris — where he has many friends and much in- 
fluence. If I had no other reason to honor the 
profession, I could but do so on account of the 
kindness which I have received at the hands of 
these two honored members of it. Its pigmies have 
assailed me, it is true, but its giants have been my 
friends and benefactors. 




My Dear Doctor : 

Yielding to the advice of friends, and having 
■already commenced to experience the deleterious 
effects of the approaching summer,! determined to 
•apply for a '' six months' furlough," so as to ab- 
sent myself from the country during its heated 
term, and to obtain the advice and treatment of the 
oculists of Paris. 

My application was made at a fortunate time, 
for the Khedive was then feeling most kindly to- 
ward the Americans in his service. 

Only a little while before he had been delighted 
by the achievements of Colonel Chaille Long-Bey. 
That gallant officer, with but two soldiers and 
without supplies, had penetrated to McTesa's 
capital, and having conciliated that monarch, had 
returned to Gondokoro by Lake Victoria, Nyanza 
and the Nile — thus solving one of the most impor- 
tant problems of the geography of that region, and 
displaying in the accomplishment of his task a 
heroism, a power of endurance and a fecundity of 
resource which entitle him to a commanding posi- 
tion among the explorers of the times. 

All this had proved a source of great satisfac- 
tion to the Khedive, and had inspired him with a 
profound admiration for this brave young Ameri- 
can, and with a kindly feeling toward his com- 
patriots generally. 


Spealdng to Captain Carter, 0/ the United States 
Navy, he said : •' I like your countrymen. They 
serve me well, and have given less trouble than 
any foreigners in my army ; and I am especially 
pleased with Long-Bey, since, with but two men 
and without money, he has accomplished more in 
Central Africa than others have etfected with thou- 
sands of men and an unlimited command of my 

I therefore obtained the "leave of absence" 
without difficulty, and feeling almost as grateful to 
my friend, Colonel Long, as to the Khedive him- 
self, I made preparations to leave Egypt and to 
spend six months in Paris, 

As the special medical board, appointed at my 
request, to examine into the condition of my eye, 
reported that it required a protracted treatment 
«.nd in a more favorable climate than that of Egypt, 
the prince minister permitted me to draw "full 
pay and allowances " during the entire period of 
my absence — a circumstance which at once showed 
his liberality and gave me great satisfaction. 

About this time a very curious thing occurred. 
I had several times seen a statement in the Ameri- 
can papers to the effect that a certain physician — to 
whom I shall give the name of Dr. Smith for the oc- 
<3asion — had been appointed surgeon-general of the 
Egyptian army, with princely pay and perquisites, 
.and that, attended by a staff of his own selection, he 
was on the point of starting for Cairo. Thinking 
it simply some sensational story I paid no atten- 
tion to the matter until brought face to face with 
it in a curious way. An individual, bearing the 
name of the so-called surgeon-general, but of which 
I did not think at the time, suddenly ap])eared in 
Cairo, accompanied by his bride and a young phy- 
sician of very respectable appearance. He at once 

472 A doctor's experiences 

applied to me for a position in the medical staffs 
and as I required assistance and his letters of rec- 
ommendation ostensibly bore the signatures of 
leading American physicians, I indorsed his appli- 
cation and sent it to the war department, but with 
an unfavorable issue. 

In the mean time I became quite intimate with 
him, as he visited me daily, and was a man of fine 
address and liberal education. One day he came- 
to my house, and having informed me of his inten- 
tion to leave Egypt on the very day of my in- 
tended departure, he proposed to engage state-rooms- 
for me while arranging to secure one for himself. 
As I was much occupied at the moment, I gladly 
accepted his offer, and gave him five pounds with 
which to secure the berths by an advance payment. 
On the succeeding day the young physician who 
had accompanied him to Egypt sought an inter- 
view with me, and with tearful eyes and trembling 
voice told me the following story of fraud and out- 
rage : 

"I had just graduated," said he, "and was- 
looking around for a location when chance threw 
me with Dr. Smith, who informed me that he had 
just been appointed surgeon-general of the Egyp- 
tian army ; that he was authorized to engage a 
number of surgeons for that service on liberal pay, 
and that he would be pleased to have me accompany 
him to Egypt. I was naturally delighted with his 
offer, but informed him that, before accepting it I 
should be glad to see the authority upon which he 
was acting. He said it was only natural that I 
should make such a request, and then exhibited to 
me a commission duly signed by the Khedive, ap- 
pointing him surgeon-general of the army, and a 
letter from the minister of war authorizing him to 
engage a certain number of surgeons as his assist- 


ants. Upon the strength of these papers, I unhesi- 
tatingly accepted his offer and started to Egypt 
with him. In Paris he professed to be greatly dis- 
appointed because of the non-arrival of remittances, 
and borrowed of me two hundred and fifty dollars^ 
all the money which I possessed after purchasing 
tickets to Cairo, which he has never returned, 
though he has often promised to do so. On arriv- 
ing here I was surprised to find you installed in 
office, and, on asking him for an explanation of it, 
I was told that you were about to leave the country, 
ostensibly on furlough, but really to give place to 
him, and that immediately after your departure 
he should assume charge of the medical depart- 
ment, and would assign me to duty and see that I 
was paid from the date of my engagement. He 
also pretended to have daily interviews with the 
Khedive, and to be on intimate terms with the 
minister of war. Having .met the consul-general 
of the United States last night, I determined to 
lay the matter before him, as my suspicions had 
become excited, and I learned enough to convince 
me that Smith is a fraud and that I have been 
duped and ruined. I therefore determined to come 
directly to you, in order to ascertain the truth in 
regard to the matter, and then to ask your advice 
and assistance^ as I am without money and owe for 
two weeks board in the bargain." 

" But what about his wife — she seems to be a 
lady?" I asked at once. 

"Oh, yes," he replied, ''she belongs to an ex- 
cellent family in New York, and is a perfect lady. 
She married him believing him to be surgeon- 
general of the Khedive's army, and expecting to 
occupy a high position here. He invited me to 
the wedding, and they were married with great 
rejoicing on the part of her family and friends. 

474 A doctor's experiences 

Even now she has no suspicion of her husband's 
rascality, and only last night she was wishing that 
you would take your departure, so that he might 
get to work and draw his pay." 

^' Well, surely," I answered, "this rascality is 
the most blatant that I ever heard of. The fellow 
deserves the penitentiary. The deception prac- 
ticed on you is had enough, but the fraud commit- 
ted on the poor girl is a thousand fold worse. It 
is impossible for you to get a position in the army, 
as I have just done my level best to secure one for 
him. I will see what can be done toward raising 
money enough to get you home. By the way, I 
very much fear that I shall be the loser by him, 
as I have given him five pounds with which to en- 
gage state-rooms for me. You must therefore excuse 
me now, as I have to take immediate steps about 
the matter. Call again to-morrow." 

Hurrying to the office of the steamer, I was in- 
formed by the agent that he had never seen or 
heard of the individual in question and that my 
name was not enrolled upon his list of passengers. 
I then went immediately to the New Hotel, and de- 
manded an interview with the " other Richmond" 
of the medical department. He had the impudence 
to attempt the bluff game at first, but when I pro- 
ceeded to lock the door of the apartment, and to 
inform him that he had to disgorge then and there, 
he wilted at once and reluctantly complied with 
my command. 

The assistant appealed to the American consul, 
hoping to secure the money which he had loaned 
his chief while in Paris, but only to discover that 
the quasi official had nothing, and was indebted to 
the landlord of the New Hotel for two weeks' 
board and for sundry bottles of the best wine that 
its cellar could afford. 


Upon my representation a kind-hearted Ameri- 
can advanced the young man money enough to defray 
his expenses to the United States, while the Cheva- 
lier d' Industrie and his broken-hearted wife were 
eventually sent home at the expense of the con- 

It turned out, that having wonderful dexterity 
in the use of the pen, he had forged not only the 
pretended commission from the Khedive, but the 
divorce papers, by means of which he inveigled the 
poor girl into the marriage which proved the source 
of so much sorrow and disgrace to her. 

A few^ days previous to my departure William 
€anie to me breathless from excitement, with the 
exclamation : 

'' Doctor, there are snakes in the stable !" 

'' Why do you think so ?" I inquired. 

'' The syce first told me about them, and then I 
watched and saw them with my own eyes. They 
are horrid-looking things, I can tell you, and as 
long as ray carriage whip." 

'' You mean your riding whip, don't you? But 
never mind their length — get my gun ready and I 
will make short work of them." 

" But that won't do. Doctor. The syce says its 
bad luck to kill house snakes, for they have got the 
spirits of dead folks in them. We have to get the 
*' charmers"* to catch them." 

" The charmers ! who are they?" 

" They are some sheiks who go about Cairo catch- 
ing snakes for a living. They have only to put their 
noses into a house to tell whether there are any 
snakes in it, and then they make the critters come 
out by calling to them in the name of the Prophet." 

"I do not believe a word of the story. The 

'See Appendix (V). 

476 A doctor's experiences 

syce has humbugged you to get some backsheesh out 
of us/' 

^' Oh, no, sir! It aint no humbug — its true as 
preachin'. I have seen the snakes for sartin, and 
I have talked with the ^charmers' about getting 
them out of the premises. They say that I have 
only to open the stable door and let them look in, 
and they will smell them out, and catch them in 
the bargain for two piasters a head." 

" Well, that sum will certainly not break us, so 
they may as well try their hands." 

"But, Doctor, that aint all. After they catch 
them they are bound to make them bite somebody 
that belongs to the establishment, for if they don't, 
you see, the ^ charmers' will lose their luck and 
die of a snake bite in less than a year." 

•■'' What is to become of the fool who permits bira- 
self to be bitten? I hope you have more sense than 
to allow the ' charmers' to try any such experi- 
ment on you. My advice to you is to let them 

But he was not to be turned from his purpose. 
On the next day I observed that the syce had his 
hand enveloped in a handkerchief, and judging 
from that circumstance that the " charmers" had 
been at work, I questioned William in regard to 
their operations, and received from him the follow- 
ing history : 

Having removed their clothing and each taken a 
long wand in his hand they entered the stable ; 
falling upon their knees, with their faces turned 
toward Mecca, they prayed devoutly for a few 
moments, and then commenced to walk around the 
building with their eyes turned to the ceiling, re- 
peating sentences from the Koran, and imploring 
the snakes to appear ; suddenly, first one snake 
and then another protruded his head from a " hole 


in the wall," and finally dropped upon the floor, 
within a few feet of the "charmers;" and then 
€acli sheik seized a snake, and carried it out of 
doors, crying ''Allah! Allah! Allah! " at the top 
of his voice. 

So soon as the syce saw the snakes — with their 
glittering eyes, their protruding tongues, and their 
writhing bodies — his courage left him, and he took 
to his heels and disappeared around a neighboring 
■corner. At this the '' charmers " became dread- 
fully alarmed, and declared that they had been 
" betrayed ; that their occupation was gone, and 
that they would die from a snake bite unless some 
one would take the place of the syce and submit 
to be bitten." They finally insisted that William 
should act as his substitute or should produce him 
according to the terms of the contract. Seeing 
their terror and somewhat alarmed for himself, he 
started off in search of the syce — bidding them 
await his return, or they should not be paid for 
their trouble. Tracing the fugitive to his own 
house, William induced him by threats and 
promises to return to the stable and stand up to 
his agreement — to be bitten by the snakes accord- 
ing to the original programme, convinced that they 
were harmless and that no injury would result to 

Then another difficulty arose — the snakes proved 
refractory — refused to use their fangs, and it was 
only by stirring them up and pinching their tails 
that they could be made to bite. 

When this was finally acccomplished, the 
^'charmers" gave vent to a chorus of "Hamd- 
allahs," pocketed their piasters and carried ofi" the 
snakes in triumph, while the sympathetic crowd 
joined in the chorus with the most pathetic unction. 

Wheu I examined the bandaged hand I could 

478 A doctor's experiences 

plainly perceive the punctures made by the 
fangs of the snake and some tumefaction of the 
subjacent integuments, but no serious consequences 
resulted, and convinced that he would henceforth 
bear a charmed life so far as snakes and evil spirits 
were concerned, he was the happiest and the 
proudest fellow in Cairo. 

Lane spells the word sais, but General Lor in g^ 
writes it syce^ which conveys a better idea of its 
pronunciation, and I have, therefore, adopted it. 
These syces possess remarkable powers of endur- 
ance, but they die young from the combined 
effects of hasheesh, raki and over-exertion. There 
is a story in Egypt that a syce of Mehemet Ali ran 
before the carriage of his master from Alexandria 
to Cairo — about one hundred and forty miles — 
without stopping either to eat or to rest on the 
way. This seems scarcely credible, but I have 
seen Ismahein — the hero of the snake story — run 
for hours together, with the thermometer indicat- 
ing 100^, without manifesting the slightest sign of 

The habit of smoking hasheesh — a species of 
Indian hemp — prevails to a fearful extent in Egypt, 
It can be had at all the tobacco shops for a mere 
song, and it is generally used by the lower classes, 
to the speedy destruction of their minds and 
bodies. It is more seductive than opium and 
equally as pernicious, while its victims can be 
easily recognized by the unsteadiness of their 
walk, the blurred and jaundiced condition of their 
eyes, the bloated or mummy-like aspect of their 
bodies, and a peculiar hacking cough, the counter- 
part of that of senile bronchitis. 

On the 6th of April, 1875, I sailed from Alex- 
andria for Marseilles en route to Paris, accompanied 
by my famil}^ and my servant William. 


The voyage was a calm and uninteresting one in 
itself, but it was madepleasant by the society of some 
English gentlemen, whose acquaintance I made by 
rendering a service to one of their number. By a 
sudden lurch of the ship he was thrown violently 
against an open cabin door, and received a ^found 
just beneath the nose, of sufficient depth and 
length to expose the gums and teeth, and to cause 
the ii'pi:>eT lip, with the mustache attached to it, 
to fall over the loioer one, presenting a most ghastly 

Perceiving that the ship's surgeon had neither 
the requisite skill nor the necessary appliances to 
dress the wound properly, 1 volunteered my services, 
and had the good fortune to secure perfect coapta- 
tion and immediate union without subsequent de- 
formity or disfigurement. 

From that time, he and his friends overwhelmed 
me with attentions — their civilities rendering the 
voyage an exceedingly pleasant one. 

What a splendid man is a real English gentleman ! 
He combines in his character a chivalry, a refine- 
ment, and a tenderness which are seldom found 
associated in other types of humanity. It is the 
old story of the rough rind and the tender kernel — 
the frozen surface and the glowing center — the 
coarse garment and the gentle nature beneath it. 
Since my residence in Egypt I have had a special 
respect for the English character, for with the 
absolute removal of the restraints of society which 
appertains to that country, I did not see the English 
return to primal barbarism or lapse into an open 
defiance of the laws of decency, as did their neigh- 
bors, but on the contrary, I saw them live like 
gentlemen — remembering the traditions of home 
and respecting its curbs and obligations — notwith- 
standing the general demoralization which sur- 

480 A doctor's experiences 

rounded them. They have their faults, it is true, 
but they seldom forget the lessons of respect for 
themselves and regard for the proprieties of life 
which they learned from their mothers ; and they 
would respond to a church bell if they heard it in 
Hades or in Halifax. 

We reached Paris on the 12th of April, 1875, 
and put up at the Hotel Chatham, an excellent 
house and one much frequented by Americans. 

My first inquiry was for General Thaddeus P. 
Mott, who had been the pioneer American officer 
in the East and the prime favorite of the Khedive 
during the entire period of his residence there. As 
he had left a good record behind him, and I was 
convinced of the similarity of our views respecting 
many Egyptian subjects, I felt desirous of making 
his acquaintance, hoping among other things to 
induce him to return to the country. 

The Khedive had long refused to receive the resig- 
nation which ill health had originally necessitated, 
as he was unwilling to lose so able and faithful a 
servant. Though absent for several years, his 
highness still retained his name upon the roll of 
the war department, and even after my arrival in 
Paris importuned him to return, feeling that in the 
impending storm he needed the services of just 
such a cool-headed and loyal-hearted man. 

I used every possible argument to induce him to 
accept the Khedive's renewed proposition, for I 
knew that the time was coming when the tide would 
turn against the Americans in that country, and 
that his advice and influence would be invaluable 
to them. 

We became warm friends, and I profited in many 
ways by his advice and intervention, but I failed 
signally in inducing him to return, as his health 
was precarious, and one of the conditions which he 


demanded was regarded as impossible by his high- 
ness under the circumstances. Of a proud spirit, 
and convinced of the correctness of his views, he 
could not be persuaded to yield a hair's breadth, 
and there was, consequently, lost to the Khedive a 
friend whose sagacity could have diverted much of 
the trouble which subsequently engulfed him, and 
to Egypt an officer whose courage, ability and 
•experience would have proved invaluable in the 
-calamities which have since overtaken her. 

My next move was to seek out the distinguished 
oculist to whom I had been recommended by Dr. 
Abatte and other friends in Egypt. He gave me a 
hurried and imperfect examination, and then pro- 
nounced the eye to be '^ in perfect condition." 

^'In perfect condition? when it has been at- 
tacked three difi'erent times by ophthalmia — when 
it is so sensitive to impressions that I have to keep 
it constantly bandaged — when I suffer perpetually 
with pain and cannot distinguish between light 
■and darkness with it," I exclaimed. 

^'Oui, Monsieur, cest guei^i," he answered, in 
the most indiiferent manner. 

You can appreciate my amazement at this an- 
nouncement, but my mind soon arrived at an ex- 
planation of the motive which prompted it. As 
he was not a fool, but a man of recognized ability 
in his specialty, it was impossible to believe other- 
wise than that he did not care to be troubled with 
the case of a confrere^ inasmuch as there was no 
money to be made out of it, and his time was 

Harrying to my hotel, I addressed him a note 
demanding to know the amount of my indebted- 
ness, and telling him that I understood and appre- 
ciated his conduct. It is true that he attempted 
an apology, but it is equally certain that I declined 

482 A doctor's experiences 

to accept it, and that I have never since asked his 
advice for myself or for my patients, so that his 
iinkindness did not prove a very profitable invest- 
ment in the end. 

I then sought Dr. Landolt, who, after a thor- 
ough examination of the eye, pronounced its con- 
dition precarious, and then subjected it to a pro- 
tracted and most skillful treatment. Being greatly 
delighted with him, both as a gentleman andi as 
an oculist, I advised him to study the English lan- 
ffuaffc, and have ever since recommended him in 
enthusiastic terms to my friends and patrons. 

It is hardly necessary to tell you that he has 
become the most famous oculist in Paris, and that 
I have contributed in no slight degree to his suc- 
cess, or rather, have helped to afford him an oppor- 
tunity to display his rare skill and learning as a 

After the cure of the eye, he said to me : ^' Dr. 
Warren, you have had a narrow escape from blind- 
ness — certainly as far as the left eye is concerned. 
Take no more risks. Do not think of returning to 
Egypt. I cannot answer for the consequences of 
another attack of ophthalmia." 

''What? Not return to Egypt," I inquired. 

"No, unless you wish to lose your eye," was 
his answer. 

Here was truly a surprise and a dilemma. T was 
dependent upon my salary from the Khedive; I had 
not lived in the country long enough to realize from 
the investment of moving to it; I was only enti- 
tled to receive a gratuity of two months' pay in 
the event of a resignation on account of ''physi- 
cal disability ;" and I had a family dependent upon 
me for support. The fiat which constrained me to 
make this sacrifice seemed a cruel one indeed, and 
I hurried to General Mott to inform him of it, and 



to ask his guidance in the darkness which encom- 
passed me. 

He gave me the most sensible advice that could 
have fallen from human lips. '^Seek the authori- 
zation to practice medicine in Paris — offer for prac- 
tice without delay — and then at the end of six 
months decide for yourself in regard to Egypt," 
were the words of wisdom with which he responded 
to my entreaty for direction in the trying circum- 
stances of my position. 

It was in this emergency that I renewed my ac- 
quaintance with Doctors Charcot and Kicord, and, 
through the influence of their great names, sup- 
ported by the indorsement of my friends, Profes- 
sor Gross, Dr. J. J. Crane, Alfred Swaine Taylor, 
Thomas Stevenson and Sir James Paget, that I 
had the good fortune to be made a ''licentiate of 
the University of France," and was enabled to 
commence the J3ractice of medicine in Paris. 

I must tell you that no foreigner can engage in 
the practice of medicine here without having passed 
an examination before a French faculty, or having 
obtained a ministerial authorization. No such au- 
thorization has been given since mine was ac- 
corded, though many attempts have been made to 
obtain one, and are not likely to be given again, 
whatever may be the influence or position of the 
applicant. In fact, an effort is now being made 
to annul those which have been accorded and to 
compel every foreign physician residing in France 
to submit to the ordeal of an examination by the 

Dr. Crane fortunately arrived in Paris just at 
this time, and made it a point to introduce me to 
his large circle of friends and to speak in glowing 
terms of the manner in which I had treated his 
fractured arm. General Mott interested the mem- 

484 A doctor's experiences 

l3ers of his family, the descendants of America's most 
illustrious surgeon, in my behalf. Chance threw 
me with General Torbert, the consul-general of the 
United States, and Mr. K. M. Hooper, the vice- 
oonsul-general, both of whom took the liveliest in- 
terest in my success^ and contributed materially to 
it. And, in a word, by the help of these good 
friends, and the co-operation of some fortunate 
cases — to which I shall more particularly refer 
further on — I felt that my future was secure before 
the expiration of my furlough — before the time 
arrived for a definite understanding with the Egyp- 
tian government. 

Good luck attended my negotiations at Cairo. 
The prince minister stood my friend, and, instead 
of accepting my resignation very kindly discharged 
me honorably from the service, which, under the 
terms of my contract, secured for me ^' six months' 
pay, and transportation to New York." 

it is true that the payment of this money was 
postponed, because of certain intrigues which were 
undertaken in a spirit of deliberate malice for my 
injury and annoyance, but, as they are things of 
the past and amounted to nothing in the end, I 
will not sully the pages of these memoirs by dis- 
cussing them or alluding to their authors. 

Through the kind intervention of Mr. Wash- 
burne, who was then minister of the United States 
at Paris, these schemes were thwarted and the 
payment made, much to my satisfaction and with 
the inspiration of sentiments of the liveliest grati- 
tude to the distinguished statesman who befriended 
me in the matter. 

Referring to Mr. Washburne I take this occasion 
to say that our country has never had an abler or 
more popular representative abroad than this wor- 
thy gentleman. Although some have complained 


that he saved money out of his salary, none can 
accuse him of any dereliction of duty or deny that 
he was generally esteemed and respected here. He 
made it the business of his life to see that even- 
handed justice was done to his compatriots with- 
out asking a question as to their political antece- 
dents or affinities, and his kindness to Colonel 
Rhett, an ex-confederate of distinction, who had 
become paralyzed in the service of the Khedive^ 
excited the warmest admiration of all who were 
acquainted with the facts of the case, and espe- 
cially endeared him to the Southern men domiciled 
in France. 

How little do we know of what is before us t 
How completely are we the creatures of circum- 
stances which can neither be foreseen nor controlled^ 
The future is only a terra incognita^ for which the 
revelations of the past supply no guidance, and 
the lessons of the present furnish no light. 

The loss of my position, which seemed a curse 
at the moment, proved a blessing in the end. Soon 
after my discharge the Khedive declared war 
against Abyssinia, and sent his entire army to 
subjugate that country. Dr. Mehemet Ali-Pasha, 
the professor of surgery in the medical school of 
Cairo, was elevated to the position which I had 
vacated, and ordered to accompany the expedition 
as its chief medical director. When the Egyptian 
army was defeated at Gura, he was captured and 
given in charge to a Soudanese soldier, who subse- 
quently murdered him in cold blood — a fate which 
would have assuredly been mine had not the condi- 
tion of my eyes compelled me to leave the country. 
In a word, I was killed hy proxy in Abyssinia as 
I certainly should have been in reality had I re- 
mained in the Khedive's service. That therefore 
which I blindly esteemed a misfortune and grieved 

486 A doctor's experiences 

over most bitterly was, in Goci's mercy, transformed 
into a benefit, for which I thanked Him upon 
bended knees and with a heart overflowing with 

One of his assistants, Dr. Johnstone, of Tennes- 
see, who had graduated in Baltimore in the medi- 
cal college with which I was connected, was cap- 
tured at the same time, and after undergoing hard- 
ships which shattered his health and almost 
unsettled his reason, was finally released by King 
John, who took him to be an Englishman, and en- 
trusted him with a confidential message to Queen 

I am told that many of the ca])tured soldiers 
were mutilated and sent back with instructions to 
say to the Khedive that the Egyptians need have 
no excuse for capturing Abyssinia boys for some 
time to come, as they had been furnished with a 
good supply of eunuchs of their own race. This 
message requires an explanation, which, as a medi- 
cal man, I am sure you will regard as privileged. 
Eunuchs being in great demand among the wealthy 
classes, a thriving trade has long been carried on 
by certain sheiks along the frontiers of Abyssinia 
in the theft of male children between six and 
eight years of age, and their subsequent emascula- 
tion. Having no proper surgical instruments or 
appliances, their mode of procedure is to cut boldl}^ 
with a sharp knife, and then to bury the subject up 
to his waist in sand, so as to keep him from bleed- 
ing to death. The percentage of mortality is high 
under this barbarous system, but that is not taken 
into account by the sheiks, as, allowing for all 
sources of loss, their profits are enormous. 

Formerly it was customary to remove only the 
scrotum and its contents, but latterly it is the 
habit to excise the organs in their entirety, so as 


to respond to the demands of the market, as pur- 
chasers under the old system frequently found that 
instead of having secured a eunuch, as they be- 
lieved, they had introduced into the hareem a ridg- 
ling and a rival — the truant organ having con- 
cealed itself among the abdominal viscera, and 
thus escaped removal when the scrotum was ex- 
cised. The same trade is continued in Upper 
Egypt under similar circumstances of barbarity 
and disregard for suffering and life. 

The first patient to whom I was called in Paris 
was a Captain Jackson, of the English navy. I 
found a French physician in charge of the case, and 
was informed by him that the captain had been ill 
for forty days with ''typhoid fever," and that 
there had been several physicians in consultation, 
the last of whom had retired that day, convinced 
that the patient would succumb within the succeed- 
ing twenty-four hours. Upon entering the sick 
chamber I immediately recognized that peculiar 
ammoniacal odor which is characteristic of uremic 
poisoning, and an examination of the patient 
promptly and decisively revealed the symptoms of 
acute " Bright's disease." I pointed them out to 
the doctor, and discovered that he had overlooked 
them entirely ; that he had not inquired into the 
condition of the kidneys, although they were se- 
creting less than a pint of urine daily. As the 
patient was profoundly comatose, with cold ex- 
tremities and an exceedingly feeble pulse, I in- 
sisted that he should be given turpentine — from its 
recognized properties as a stimulant to the kidneys 
and to the system at large — alternately with gin 
and milk, and that sinapisms should be repeatedly 
applied to the extremities and over the loins. 

On the succeeding morning I found that there 
was a considerable augmentation of the urinary 

488 A doctor's experiences 

secretion, and that the patient was consequently 
better in all regards, hut when we retired for con- 
sultation the doctor produced the specimen of urine 
which he had taken away for examination and de- 
clared that it contained ''not a trace of albumen.'^ 

' ' No albumen , sir ?' ' I exclaimed . ' ' You astonish 
me. Hereisthespecimen which Ihaveexamined, and 
as you can see for yourself, it is loaded with albu- 

'' Mine at least contains nothing of the kind," 
he answered, in a very surly manner. 

"Well, sir, the question can be readily settled," I 
replied. "I have brought with me materials for test- 
ing it, and I shall employ them in your presence." 
The urine was duly examined and a heavy deposit 
of albumen presented itself. '' Now," said I, " you 
are attempting to act unfairly both toward the pa- 
tient and to myself, and I do not propose to sub- 
mit to it." I then called the family in to the 
room, and explained the whole matter to them^ 
concluding by saying: "Another physician must 
be called in to decide between us, and I hope you 
will select some reliable Englishman . ' ' The French- 
man declared that it was the very thing he de- 
sired, and 23romised to return at 3 p. m. to meet 
whoever they might think proper to invite to the 

Before leaving the house I took the precaution 
to instruct the nurse " to make no change in the 
treatment, even if instructed to do so by the attend- 
ing physician," as I had no confidence in either his 
capacity or his honesty . I returned at the appointed 
hour, and found Dr. M., an English physician of 
ability and experience, awaiting me, but the French- 
man was not there, and he never returned to the 
house afterward. 

As a matter of course, m}^ diagnosis was con- 


firmed in every particular, and the treatment con- 
tinued, and I must add that the patient promptly 
recovered from his attack of so-called ' ' typhoid 
fever," and died nine months afterward of con- 
firmed "Bright's disease." 

Shortly afterward I was summoned to a Spanish 
lady of position, who had been attended by a num- 
ber of the leading physicians of Paris, each of 
whom had discovered a different malady, while all 
had failed to relieve her, and had pronounced her 
case incurable. She was in a sad plight when I 
saw her, as she seemed to have a complication of 
maladies, the mucous membrane generally being 
in a state of chronic inflammation. 

The stomach was too much irritated to retain 
nourishment of any kind, and she discharged on 
the day of my arrival a mold of the epithelial 
lining of the intestine several feet in length. After 
a careful examination I concluded that she was 
suffering from chronic arsenical poisoning ; that 
she really had the symptoms of all the various dis- 
eases which had been attributed to her, because of 
the derangement of each organ possessing a mu- 
cous membrane. 

The husband manifested great indignation at 
this diagnosis, taking it as an intimation that an 
attempt had been made to poison his wife. " Not 
at all," said I, ^^you entirely misunderstand me. 
I only mean to say that she has habitually used 
some substance containing arsenic^ which has gradu- 
ally accumulated in her system, and expended it- 
self upon the mucous membrane, producing the 
results which I find to-day." Upon investigation 
it appeared that to remove some taches from her 
skin she had visited La Bourboule, a noted arseni- 
cal spring in France, the waters of which she had 
drank freely, and bathed in regularly for several 

490 A doctoe's experiences 

weeks, and that after lier return to Paris and up 
to that very hour of my visit she had continued to 
drink several glasses daily. 

These facts solved the problem of this appar- 
ently mysterious case, and confirmed the diagnosis 
which I had so boldly made on my first examina- 
tion of it. 

By prohibiting the use of the Bourboule water 
and the employment of appropriate remedies, my 
patient was promptly restored to health — to my 
infinite gratification and the delight of her family 
and friends. 

The liusband shortly afterward visited Madrid, 
and made it a point to relate the history of his 
wife's illness and restoration to the King of Spain, 
who immediately created me a " Knight of tlie 
Order of Isabella the Catholic," one of the most 
honorable orders of chivalry in Europe. 

Again I was called as a consultant in the case 
of an American gentleman — a friend of Dr. Crane 
— who was suffering from incessant vomiting, ac- 
companied by persistent constipation, an icteroid 
hue of the ,skin and conjunctiva, and profound 
prostration of the general system. There was, 
also, in attendance one of the most experienced 
and distinguished physicians of Paris, and the 
English physician to whom I have referred in con- 
nection with Captain Jackson's case. Upon con- 
ferrino; too-ether, I found that a radical difference 


of opinion existed between myself and my col- 
leagues in regard to the nature of the case. They 
took the ground that an intussusception of the bowel 
existed, that the vomited matters were stercora- 
ceous, and that the other symptoms were secondary 
and subordinate ; while I insisted that an abscess 
of the liver had opened into the duodenum imme- 
diately below the pyloric orifice of the stomach, 


that the matters ejected were an admixture of hile 
and vitiated pus^ and that the concomiitant 
phenomena were the consequences and exponents 
of what had occurred. The question at issue 
turned mainly upon the nature of the odor emitted 
hy the matters vomited ^ — they pronouncing \i fecal, 
and I declaring it to be essentially that of an ad- 
mixture of bile and vitiated pus, such as I had en- 
countered in similar cases of hepatic abscesses in 
the East. Being outvoted, I had to submit to see- 
ing a plan of treatment adopted which, to say the 
least, was not demanded by the indications as I 
interpreted them, and was useless per se, and to 
rely upon the autopsy for the vindication of my 
diagnosis. The patient, who had received a medi- 
cal education and was perfectly conscious up to the 
last moment of his life, agreed with me in my 
view of his case, and left a dying request that a 
post-mortem examination should be made for the 
purpose of determining the mooted question. 

The case soon terminated fatally, and the post- 
mortem examination was made by an expert, the 
attending physician and myself being present — 
with the result of finding that a hejDatic abscess had 
opeiied into the duodenum, and that no intussuscep- 
tion of the intestine existed. 

These cases gave me a good start in Paris, and 
proved the harbingers of a real professional success 
—secured for me a large and lucrative clientele, 
not only among my compatriots, but in the circles 
of many nationalities. 

492 A doctor's experiexces 



My Dear Doctor : 

I was quietly smoking my post-prandial cigar 
one evening when there was a ring at the door, 
and a young man was ushered in whose manner 
and appearance most favorably impressed me. He 
had essentially the bearing of a polished gentle- 
man, and there was a grace in his deportment and 
a sympathetic ring in his voice which placed us en 
rapport in Rn instant. Here is one of "nature's 
real noblemen," was my reflection, as I gave him 
my hand and invited him to a chair. 

'' I am Mr. Henry Dwight, of Boston," he said, 
as he seated himself by my side and declined a 
proffered cigar. "^ I have called," he resumed, 
" to request you to visit a particular friend of mine 
who is ill, and, I fear, dangerously so, at the hotel. 
Can you accompany me at once?" 

'^ Certainly," I answered, "I will go with pleas- 
ure. But sit down for a few moments and tell 
me something about the case. How long has he 
been ill, and what seems to be the trouble?" 

" He has been ailing ever since we landed at 
Liverpool, and to-night he has, or seems to have, 
a high fever and to be suffering with his head. I 
am seriously alarmed about him, and only await 
your visit to decide whether or not to telegraph his 
friends, who are mine, as well," was the response. 

As we walked to the hotel he informed me that 


he was the son of a wealthy banker, a near relative 
of Charles Francis Adams, and that having recently 
graduated at Harvard, he had come to Europe to 
make the '' grand tour" with his particular friend 
Mr. Edwards, the sick man, preliminary to settling 
down to the study of a profession. 

I found Mr. Edwards seriously and strangely 
sick, with all the symptoms of typhoid fever, ac- 
companied by a condition of stupor which almost 
amounted to coma, and which neither the stage of 
the disease nor the violence of the general symptoms 

"He has typhoid fever most certainly, but the 
stupor puzzles me," I said. " Has he taken opium 
in any form ?" 

"Opium! You astonish me! He has taken 
nothing to my knowledge. But do you consider 
him seriously — alarmingly — sick ? Shall I tele- 
graph our mutual friends, Doctor?" 

" It appears to me that he is narcotized — that he 
has taken an opiate and is profoundly under its 
influence. This condition of stupor so obscures the 
case that for the moment I cannot form a definite 
conclusion as to its gravity. The principal source 
of danger is the narcotism, which must terminate 
one way or the other before his friends can arrive 
or possibly before you can receive an answer from 
them. Delay the dispatch at least until to-morrow, 
and send at once for a nurse to carry out my direc- 

" A nurse, Doctor ! I assure you that I am as 
good a nurse as you can find, and Edwards is ac- 
customed to my ways. We were raised together, 
and he prefers me to any one else. I will take 
care of him, and see that your instructions are 
carried out to the letter." 

" I appreciate your sentiments and your inten- 

494 A doctor's experiexces 

tions. They do honor to you, but the necessity for 
a nurse is absolute. The attentions of a skilled 
nurse in typhoid fever are worth all the medicine 
in the world. I had rather trust myself to Miss 
Irwin's faithful and intelligent care under such 
circumstances than to the daily consultations of the 
entire faculty. This case under the most favorable 
condition will last for three weeks, and with all 
of your solicitude for your old friend you would 
break down in three days. It is neither your head 
nor your heart that I distrust, but your legs and 
your backbone — which would become utterly stiff 
and worthless before the disease had half run its 
course. I will give you the address of one of my 
best nurses, and you must send for her to-night.'^ 

"All right, then. Doctor, if you put it in that 
way ! Give me the address, and I will go and 
fetch her without delay . " 

This conversation had taken place at the bed- 
side of the sick man, who was incapable of hear- 
ing a word of it, and over whom I had been work- 
ing faithfully all the while with the result of 
inducing some dilation of the contracted pupils and 
a slight return of consciousness. As the night 
was far advanced, I wrote out minute instructions 
for the expected nurse, gave D wight my address 
and left the sick chamber, promising to return as 
early as possible on the succeeding morning. Re- 
turning promptly the next day, I found the patient 
alone — neither D wight nor the nurse being in at- 
tendance — and in precisely the same condition of 
stupor as at my first visit. Knocking at the door of 
D wight's chamber^ he opened it after considerable 
delay, yawning, rubbing his eyes and profuse of ex- 
pletives because, as he muttered to himself, "a devil 
of a garcon had disturbed a gentleman before day- 
break after he had danced all night at matille. 


Quickly perceiving his mistake, and never dreaming 
that he had been overheard, his countenance in- 
stantly glowed with its wonted smile, and the old se- 
ductive tone came back to his voice, as, with the most 
consummate assurance, he exclaimed: ^'Why, 
Doctor, is it you? Walk in and take a seat! I 
left Edwards only a moment since, to wash up and 
refresh myself a little, as I had passed the entire 
night at his bedside. I was all alone, you see, and 
had to carry out your instructions single-handed. 
Have you seen him this morning?" 

' ' But why single-handed ? Where is the nurse ?" 
I inquired. 

^' Well, you see. Doctor," his smile growing 
brighter and his voice more insinuating with each 
word, "everything w^ent wrong after you left last 
night. Leaving Edwards in charge of one of the 
servants, I took a carriage and went in search of 
the nurse, thinking that the surest way of getting 
her. Unfortunately I gave the coachman the scrap 
of paper upon which you had written her name and 
address, without observing either, and directed 
him to drive to the locality indicated as rajaidly as 
possible, promising him a good pour hoir for prompt- 
ness and dispatch. He drove off like the wind, 
thinking oniy of the expected reward, and in a few 
moments collided with a hand-cart, which came 
near sending me to kingdom-come, and broke the 
fiacre to splinters. I was consequently forced to 
call another cahhi and to return to the hotel to 
seek a bottle of arnica, with which to bathe my 
bruised and aching shins, and to leave the nurse 
for another trip this morning, as I found the pa- 
tient in no condition to be left longer in the hands 
of a garcon. Voila toute — except that I had to 
play nurse solitary and alone for the remainder of 
the night." 

496 A doctor's experiences 

Contrasting this plausible story with the em- 
phatic utterances which I had just heard from his 
lips, I was utterly amazed and confounded ; but, 
as I gazed into his soft blue and seemingly truth- 
revealing eyes, and listened to the honeyed accents 
of his beguiling tongue, I involuntarily turned a 
deaf ear to my own senses, and concluded that 
either he or 1 had been dreaming. 

" But why did you not stop at my house as you 
passed by on your return to the hotel, for you must 
have known tliattherewasarnicathereinabundance, 
and that I would have immediately, sent William 
in search of the nurse?" 

''Well, I thought of doing so. Indeed, it was 
my first impulse. But then I remembered how 
faithfully you had worked over Edwards ; how 
late it was when you had retired, and how much 
you must have stood in need of repose, and I con*- 
cluded that it would be an outrage to disturb you, 
especially as I knew that I could take proper care 
of the patient," 

Completely won by his kind sympathy for me 
1 answered kindly : 

" You are a good fellow, D wight, and I shall 
not quarrel with you over that which is so clearly 
the result of an accident. Send for the nurse, 
however, at once, for Edwards is a very sick man, 
and absolutely needs her services." 

''I have reflected a great deal on that subject, 
Doctor, and I am convinced that Edwards will do 
better in my hands than in those of a nurse. We 
know each other so well, we have been friends for so 
long a time that he naturally prefers me to a 
stranger, and I am both willing and able to take 
care of him. In fact I promised his mother to 
nurse him in case of sickness, and as greatly as 1 
respect you I must, as Edwards' particular friend 


and natural protector, decline to have a nurse for 
him," was his emphatic response. 

' ^ All right. I decline all further connection with 
the case. Good morning, sir. But before I go I 
must inform you that, in some way, Mr. Bd wards 
has had a dose of opium administered to him, both 
on yesterday and to-day. He is either a victim of 
the opium habit or some one is trying to poison 

" My God, Doctor ! What do you mean ? You 
tell me that my friend is in danger of being pois- 
oned, and talk of leaving him at the same time. 
Some one may suspect me if you abandon the case. 
I entreat you to remain." 

^^ Unless the nurse is instantly sent for I shall 
leave. That is my condition, and it remains with 
you to accept it or not." 

"All right! Since you make a point of it I ac- 
cept your condition, of course. Will you have the 
kindness to send for her, as you originally pro- 

''Certainly ! I will send William with my car- 
riage for her at this moment, and I promise you that 
I shall find out where this daily dose of opium 
€omes from as well." 

The nurse was brought, duly instructed and in- 
stalled, and for several days there was no change 
in the status of affairs at the hotel. Edwards con- 
tinued to be very sick — the same stupor manifest- 
ing itself daily, but while Dwight exhibited his 
wonted anxiety and solicitude, he made no further 
reference to his telegraphic message to "mutual 
friends at home." 

It was made more and more patent every moment 
that Edwards was kept under the influence of a 
narcotic, although I instructed both the nurse and 
Dwight to be continually on the alert to discover 



whence it came, and to prevent its administration, 
I could not believe that it was self-administered, 
nor could I bring myself to suspect Dwight, as he 
had apparently no motive for jeopardizing the life 
of his friend, and his attentions to him were the 
tenderest and most persistent that one man ever 
lavished upon another. Indeed, so solicitous did 
he seem for his comrade's comfort and safety that 
he' would scarcely permit the nurse to discharge 
her legitimate duties, while he remained many 
hours daily at the side of the sick man administer- 
ing the medicines and the nourishment which I had 
prescribed with his own hands, and in the most 
exact and systematic manner. He seemed to think 
only of the necessities of the patient, and to be 
willing to make any sacrifice of personal comfort 
to relieve them. Such apparent devotion I had 
never witnessed upon the part of one unconnected 
by the ties of blood with the object of his ministra- 

I observed however that his solicitude did not 
interfere with his luxuriousness, and that he lived 
most sumptuously, dining always a la carte in his- 
own room,, and regaling himself with the richest 
dishes and the finest wines of the hotel. When I 
twitted him on his extravagance and self-indulgence 
he only smiled blandly, and said carelessly : "I am 
an only son, you see, and have been spoiled from 
my birth. Besides, the old gentleman told me ta 
have a good time, and he is punctual and liberal in 
his remittances." 

Having been called one morning at an unusually 
early hour to another patient in the hotel, I took 
occasion to visit Edwards. To my astonishment I 
found him unattended, and at the same time un- 
usually intelligent — the habitual stupor having in 
a great measure passed away, Dwight's chamber 


having no occupant, I summoned the nurse, who, 
in response to my upbraiclings for her negligence, 
assured me that he (Dwight) had ordered her to 
retire, as he proposed to take charge of the patient 
for the night, and preferred to be alone. All this 
appeared most extraordinary, so inexplicable, in 
fact, that I determined to take advantage of Ed- 
wards' return to consciousness and intelligence to 
make some inquiries respecting this mysterious and 
contradictory bosom friend, whose conduct puzzled 
me the more w^ith each new development. 

Attracting the patient's attention, I asked him : 
'' How long have you known your friend Mr. 

"Mr. Dwight? My friend Mr. J) wight?" he 

" Yes, your friend Mr. Dwight — the young man 
who has nursed you for the last week," I said. 

"^Ah ! Now I understand you. Is his name 
Dwight? I did not know it ; I never saw him un- 
til the day I was taken sick, when he came into 
my room, introduced himself simply as a brother 
American, and offered to get his particular friend, 
Doctor Warren-Bey to visit me," he answered. 

" My God ! Is that possible ?" I exclaimed, a 
light breaking upon my mind which nearly de- 
prived me of the power of speech. " Then he is 
the greatest liar unhung, and I have no doubt a 
consummate villain as well. Where is your money ? 
Where are your valuables?" 

" My letter of credit ought to be in my trunk. 
My pocket-book was under my pillow. I left my 
diamond studs in my shirt," 

An examination of the localities mentioned re- 
vealed the fact that the various articles enumerated 
had disappeared, and a thorough search through 

500 A doctor's EXPEPtlEXCES 

the chamber made it patent that they had been 

''Then I have been robbed and ruined," ex- 
claimed the sick man, now thoroughly aroused and 
conscious. " Help me ! In God's name help me, 
for I am unable to help myself." 

" Yes, you certainly have been robbed — 
thoroughly robbed ! D wight has appropriated 
your money, your letter of credit, and your dia- 
mond studs, but, thank heaven ! your life is safe — 
you have not been murdered as well." 

" My life, Doctor? What can you mean?" 

" I mean simply this : In order to carry out his 
scheme of rascality the more effectually, he has 
administered an opiate to you everv day since you 
fell ill." 

He hid his face in the pillow and sobbed like a 
child ; while my mind taking a rapid survey of 
the events of the week, saw no longer "through a 
glass, darkly," but thoroughly appreciated the 
whole situation — understood D wight's pretended 
solicitude for his " sick friend ;" his opposition to 
the employment of a nurse ; his embarrassment 
when I spoke of the " daily dose of opium ;" his 
protracted and solitary vigils at the bedside of his 
" old comrade ;" his order to the garde malade to 
retire for the night that he might watch the " sick 
man," and all the details of the ingenious plot by 
which he had made a fool of me and had succeeded 
in robbing poor Edwards of his money and effects. 

" He has played Ms little game, Mr. Edwards, 
and played it well. Now I will play mine^ and if 
he is on this side of the ocean I shall find him if I 
have to devote to it the remainder of my life and 
all that I possess in the world," I said, thoroughly 
aroused and as indignant as if I had been his vic- 
tim, for I felt that he had used me as a tool to ac- 


complish his scheme of villainy, and that I had 
been more of a dupe than the helpless invalid. 

Hurrying to the telegraph office, I sent a mes- 
sage to Morton, Rose & Co., of London — the 
bankers who had given the credit — informing them 
of the robbery and instructing them to pay no 
draft bearing the name of J. R. Edwards, as I 
knew that Dwight must forge his signature in order 
to realize money on the stolen letter. 

Then remembering that T had seen Dwight play- 
ing billiards on the preceding day with the son of 
a well-known American banker, I hastened to the 
father's office to ascertain if he had had business 
relations with the establishment. 

'^ Are you acquainted with a young man who 
calls himself Dwight?" I inquired of the head of 
the house. 

'' Quite well," was the answer. '' He has been 
coming in here for the last week, telling of the 
sickness of a friend of his, Mr. J. R. Edwards, 
and seeking to obtain money to meet their neces- 
sary expenses at the hotel, their joint letter of 
credit being made out in Edwards' name, and he 
being too ill to sign a check or to make any ar- 
rangement with reference to the matter. Yester- 
day, however, it was all satisfactory arranged, for 
Dwight brought the letter of credit itself and a 
check duly signed by his friend, who it seems is 
now much better." 

"Did you cash the check?" 

'' Certainly, for it was all en regie, and we were 
glad to accommodate the young man, who belongs 
to one of the first families in Boston, and is him- 
self one of the most charming fellows I ever met. 
He and Willie have been playing billiards for a 
week, and have become fast friends." 

"■ For how much was the check ? " 

502 A doctor's experiences 

*' For about £200, T believe. He is veiy wealthy, 
and has been having a good time." 

'' Then you have lost that amount, for the letter 
was stolen and the check is a forgery." 

'^Impossible, sir! He is related to Charles 
Francis Adams, and of an excellent family. I 
know all about him." 

" From what he has told you of himself. He is 
a liar, a thief, and a forger. He has duped you as 
he did me — and unfortunately to the tune of a 
thousand dollars. I am Edwards' physician. He 
was not in condition to sign a check on j^esterday, 
and he has discovered this morning that he has 
been robbed of his money, his letter of credit, and 
his diamond studs. Mr. Dwight is no friend of 
his — but is a regular impostor — a thorough-paced 

''Is that really so. Doctor Warren? Could I 
have been as much deceived in a man ? Thank 
God ! After all, the loss will fall on Morton, Rose 
& Co. and not on me. I sent the check for collec- 
tion by the mail of last night, and it will certainly 
be paid on presentation this morning." 

" And I have just telegraphed them that their 
letter has been stolen, and that the check is a 

" Then you have done me a great injury — you 
have caused me to lose £200. Was it any business 
of yours ? Why did you interfere ?" 

" In the interest of justice — for the protection of a 
defenseless patient. The question is not as to who 
can best afford to lose the money — it is one of 
equity — of common honesty. I certainly intended 
to do you no wrong, but acted as the friend and 
protector of a powerless man and suffering pa- 
tient who had appealed to me to assist him.'"' 

"At any rate I shall lose the money. The re- 


suit is tlie same whatever may have been your in- 

''It is immaterial tome what you may think 
about the matter, sir. I have simply done my 
duty and I accept the consequences. Justice is not 
a thing to palter over or to be made a matter of 
favor or affection. I advise you to have D wight 
found at once and to force him to disgorge before 
he has wasted the money. In that way you can 
protect yourself and Mr. Edwards as well." 

''As to that, I consider a search for him useless. 
He would not he such a fool as to remain in Paris 
under the circumstances." 

The banker as he said this left his desk and 
came into the body of his office, and commenced to 
walk to and fro — from the rear to the street door — 
perfectly wild with excitement on account of his 
loss, and with indignation toward me because of 
the part which I had taken in the matter. Sud- 
denly he stopped, and crying out : " Stop ! Stop ! 
Stop! " at the top of his voice, rushed into the 
street, hatless and with both hands waving in the 
air, in hot pursuit — as I soon discovered— of a 
gorgeous carriage which was passing at the 
moment. Following him with my eyes I saw the 
carriage stop, and Dwight — looking magnificent 
in a new overcoat of the latest style, and a beaver 
that outshone a looking-glass — descend from it, 
and greet the pursuing banker with every mani- 
festation of satisfaction at the rencontre. What 
fools ! I involuntarily ejaculated to myself — the 
■one for not immediately escaping with his booty, 
and the other for showing his hand before the quarry 
is fairly captured. The banker proved an adept of 
the first order, however, for, instead of accusing 
Dwight and thus giving him an opportunity to re- 
enter his carriage and escape, he saluted him in 

504 A doctor's experiences 

the most friendly manner. ''Did you intend to 
skip by a friend in that style, my boy — without even 
stopping to pass the compliments of the morning 
with him ? Come in and make yourself at home 
while Willie steps out to order a hock apiece for 
the party. The Doctor will join us, I know^ for 
he looks rather thirsty to-day," he said to 
the young man, as the twain walked hand in 
hand, most confidingly, toward the banker's of- 
fice. D wight's cheek blanched, and his insinuat- 
ing smile deserted his eyes as he met me, but, re- 
gaining the mastery of himself by an effort, he 
gave me his hand and said cheerily : ''I congratu- 
late you on your treatment of Edwards' case, my 
dear Doctor. You have certainly pulled him 
through most beautifully. When I left him this 
morning he was evidently better — very much bet- 
ter — and it is all plain sailing now^ if I under- 
stand the situation." 

Willie soon returned, not, however, with " a. 
hock apiece," but with a j)oliceman, who, to the 
consternation of Dwight, had him hand-cuffed in 
an instant, and en route in his elegant equipage 
for the cabinet of the commissary of the arrondisse- 
ment, where he was carried to mazas on a charge 
of theft and forgery. I never saw so astonished and 
humiliated an individual as poor Dwight when the 
sergeant de ville confronted him ; but at the same 
time I read in unmistakable characters upon his 
countenance the words " old offender," and so it 
turned out to be. He was a fugitive from justice at 
that very moment, notwithstanding the charm of 
person and fascination of address with which he had 
seduced me, and all who encountered him into the 
conviction that he was one of nature's noblemen — 
a gentleman by birth, education and instinct. 

Upon searching him, about eight hundred dollars 


were found in his pocket-book, and all of the valu- 
ables upon his person — much to the delight of the 
banker and my patient. 

Never dreaming that Edwards had sufficiently 
recovered to realize his loss or that he could be 
suspected of crime^ Paris was too much of a para- 
dise to be lost to him, with his purse filled with 
the means of securing its pleasures, and he lin- 
gered to have his fill of them, with the result of 
finding himself in prison with the certainty of con- 
viction staring him in the face. 

On the succeeding day he sent for the banker, 
had the eight hundred dollars restored to him and 
the jewelry returned to Edwards, gave him his real 
name and the address of his father, with the as- 
surance that the deficiency of two hundred dollars 
should be made good, and then plead so piteously 
for mercy that when the day for his trial arrived 
no one appeared against him, and he was released 
with the infliction of no other punishment save 
that embodied in a peremptory order to leave the 
country within twenty-four hours. 

He really was a member of an excellent New 
England family, and had received a regular college 
education, but he had evinced a propensity to 
swindle from his youth, and had finally become so 
seriously involved in some discreditable afPair as 
to render it necessary for him to escape clandes- 
tinely from the country under an assumed name. 

His father came forward subsequently and paid 
the deficiency of two hundred dollars, while the son 
enlisted in the English army ; and when I last 
heard from him he had so impressed his superiors 
by his splendid appearance, his courtly manners, 
and his charming address that they had promoted 
him to a confidential clerkship at Woolwich — 

506 A doctor's experiences 

where he will inevitably come to grief again, as 
he is a swindler by instinct and diction. 

Edwards finally recovered, to find himself con- 
fronted by a demand from the hotel proprietor for 
the whole amount of D wight's board bill, and to 
have his baggage seized as security for its payment, 
under the pretext that they were friends and co- 
adjutors. After a protracted lawsuit his defense 
was admitted, but the expenses to which he was. 
subjected amount to nearly as large a sum as that 
which D wight had expended, and he left the coun- 
try, thanking God to have escaped with his life, 
and cursing the swindlers, indigenous and exotic^ 
who infest it. 

My dispatch to Morton, Rose & Co. arrived at 
the very moment when the check was presented for 
payment and saved them from loss, while it left the 
Paris banker to bear the burden of the entire trans- 
action — which fortunately proved to be only a tem- 
porary one, as I have already related. As the one 
party never acknowledged the favor rendered by my 
intervention, and the other was made seriously an- 
gry because of it, I was taught a lesson of practical 
wisdom which I shall endeavor to remember and 
to profit by for the remainder of my life, viz : that 
it is good policy to let every man pull his own 
chestnuts out of the fire, whatever may be the 
temptation to assist him. Disinterested kindness is 
but little appreciated in this world, and the surest 
means of involving one in embarrassment and diffi- 
culty. It never pays, and it is certain to result 
in disappointment and regret in the long run. 




My Dear Doctor : 

Many persons of note have been my patients in 
Paris. In the summer of 1877 the Hon. Thomas 
A. Hendricks, now the Vice -President of the United 
States, visited Paris and sought my professional 
services. Though not seriously ill, he was suffer- 
ing greatly from nervous prostration, resulting 
from the intense excitement incident to the Presi- 
dential campaign. I found him a man of unusual 
purity and elevation of character, as well as of 
great grasp and clearness of intellect. With the 
simplicity of a child he combines the suavity of a 
courtier and the dignity of a statesman. Though 
tenaciously adhering to his own opinions, he is as 
respectful to his adversaries as he is considerate of 
his friends. It was hard to realize that so modest 
and unpretending a man had just been a leader in 
one of the greatest political contests that had ever 
convulsed the country, and the idol of thousands of 
devoted partisans. Plain but neat in dress, un- 
assuming but winning in address, stately but grace- 
ful in carriage, simple but entertaining in conver- 
sation, and with a sweet smile perpetually illumin- 
ating his benignant countenance, the merest tyro 
in worldly experience would segregate him from 
the "common herd" and salute him as a gentle- 
man by birth and a leader by intuition, A little 
incident occurred under my own observation which 

508 ■ A doctor's experiences 

amply illustrates his character. I was talking with 
him one day in the 2^orte cochere of his hotel, when 
an individual who had rendered himself notorious 
in Paris hy ostentatiously wearing a suit of Con- 
federate gray twelve years after the surrender, 
and insulting all who disagreed with him in 
regard to the right of secession — though he spent 
the entire period of the war ahroad, removed from 
danger — came up and launched out in a vio- 
lent tirade against General Grant, who was then 
in Europe. An expression of sternness immedi- 
ately replaced the wonted smile upon Mr. Hen- 
dricks' countenance, and, with an angry tone in 
his voice, he said: "If you think that such re- 
marks please me because I am a Democrat and op- 
posed to General Grant politically, you make a sad 
mistake, sir. He is an American, and one of our 
greatest men, whatever may be his political affili- 
ation. You cannot abuse him in my presence." 

With a look in which amazement and humili- 
ation were commingled, the gentleman in posthu- 
mous gray slunk away, believing himself a martyr 
to his principles, and amazed at the " infatuation 
of the grand old party in selecting such a milk and 
water Democrat for the second place upon its 
ticket," as be expressed it on various occasions 
afterward. If this timely rebuke did disgust and 
alienate the partisan to whom it was addressed, it 
correspondingly delighted and enthused the crowd 
of more reasonable compatriots who overheard it, 
and who recognized in it the true ring of patriot- 
ism and of good breeding. 

Although I did not prescribe for General Grant, 
I met him frequently during his visit to Paris, and 
had an opportunity of forming an accurate esti- 
mate of his character. Between General Torbert, 
who was then the consul-oreneral of the United 


States at Paris, and General Grant there existed a 
close and tender friendship, and, as he was like- 
wise my most confidential friend, I saw the ex- 
President daily, and under circumstances which 
precluded all disguises. Under the influences of 
the inevitable cigar, the comfort of a cozy arm- 
chair and the isolation of a cozy and private sanctum, 
the real character of General Grant came to the 
front, and he appeared precisely as nature and 
circumstances had made him. To my surprise he 
left his reticence at home and was absolutely lo- 
quacious, discussing men and events with great 
freedom and candor, and showing the possession of 
a keen appreciation of things in general, a knowl- 
edge of human character, a soundness of judgment, 
a memory for details and a kindness of heart which 
are not only extraordinary in themselves, but prove 
him to be equally a great and a good man. He 
discussed every person of note whom the progress 
of the war and the process of reconstruction had 
rendered conspicuous upon either side, and, without 
a trace of prejudice, gave his estimate of their ser- 
vices and character. From his lips I heard a de- 
tailed history of his campaigns and of his admin- 
istration, which far exceeded in interest and in 
aptness of illustration anything that has been, or 
will ever be, written in these regards, and I con- 
sidered myself as being especially fortunate in thus 
having enjoyed the privilege of an admission into 
the inner circle of his thoughts, feelings and ideas. 
As a result of these experiences, I have ever since 
entertained the opinion that General Grant is one 
of the most extraordinary men that the world has 
produced, and that his reputation will be the more 
appreciated in history as it is the more thoroughly 
studied and understood ; that it will not only live 

610 A doctor's experiences 

through the coming ages^ but will expand and 
brighten continually in the lapse of time. 

Among other things I found that his admira- 
tion for the genius and character of General Lee 
was not less fervent than my own — was not behind 
that of the most enthusiastic Southerner, and that^ 
while he regarded his ultimate triumph over our 
great chieftain as the crowning glory of his life, he 
fully a])preciated the circumstances which had given 
him the victory, and honored his adversary the 
more on their account. 

I discovered also that the popular idea respecting 
his blindness to the errors and faults of his friends 
was entirely erroneous, and that his fidelity in 
every instance had chronicled the triumph of his 
heart over his head ; that he had stood by them to 
the death, not because of an ignorance of their 
deficiencies, but for the reason that they possessed 
his love and sympathy. Call this weakness if you 
choose, but, in my judgment, it embodies and 
illustrates the whole catalogue of human virtues — 
that it compensates in moral grandeur for all defi- 
ciencies in other regards. A loyalty to the obli- 
gations of friendship which turn a deaf ear to popu- 
lar clamor, and assumes the responsibility of its 
faith at any personal sacrifice, lifts its possessor 
above the ordinary standards of humanity. The 
acts which such a sentiment inspires are purified 
in their inception, while they clothe their author 
in a panoply of rectitude which defies alike the 
shaft of criticism and the fangs of malice. 

I can but regard General Grant's uncompromis- 
ing fidelity in this regard as at once the noblest 
attribute of his character and the keystone which 
strengthens and perfects the fabric of his fame. 
Any man can be true when the sun shines and the 
winds slumber, but it requires a brave and great 


one to remain steadfast when the clouds lower and 
the tempest rages, and it has been the rule of Ms 
life to display most of trust and sympathy in the 
hour of greatest peril and the most extreme ad- 

I have referred to General Torhert, and I must 
linger to relate the history of his sad fate, and to 
drop a tear of sympathy upon his honored grave. 

A soldier by instinct and education, he was ig- 
norant of politics, too trustful of men, unfamiliar with 
the routine of business and devoted to enjoyment, 
but honest, brave and loyal to the last degree. No 
man could have been more out of place than he, 
for his position imperatively demanded those things 
in which he was most deficient — a large commer- 
cial experience, and that savoir-faire which consti- 
tutes a man of the world, and is essential to the 
success of a nation's representative. He therefore 
trusted to his subordinates for the management of 
his office, and devoted himself to the task of getting 
all of the satisfaction out of a life in Paris which 
the circumstances of the situation allowed, and the 
responsibilities of his position justified. No com- 
patriot, however, ever appealed to him for assistance 
or sympathy without receiving them in the fullest 
measure, and, whether successful or not as an ofii- 
cial, he was the most popular man that ever repre- 
sented his country abroad. General Grant enter- 
tained for him the warmest affection, as was shown 
by the bestowal upon him first of the consulship 
at Havre and then of that at Paris — two of the 
most important posts in the gift of the President, 
and the devotion to his society of many hours daily 
in the private sanctum at the consulate. 

With a change in the administration he lost his 
place and returned home, to find his fortune 
diminished and to appreciate the necessity of a 

512 A doctor's experiences 

vigorous effort for its recuperation. With this end 
in view, he engaged in a business enterprise which 
required a visit to Mexico, and on the 28th of 
August, 1880, he sailed for Cuba en route to that 
country. On the succeeding day a violent storm 
arose, which soon reduced the steamer to a helpless 
wreck, and drove its crew and passengers to the 
necessity of attempting to reach the shore — some 
thirty miles distant — upon its debris. Encumber- 
ing himself with a little boy, in whose fate he had 
become interested and whose rescue he determined 
to attempt, he lashed himself to a board, and 
boldly plunged into the waves. Strange to say, 
he reached land alive, but in a state of insensibility 
— from which scarcely an effort was made to rescue 
him by the wreckers, who, like hungry harpies, 
lined the shore awaiting their prey — and his brave 
spirit soon winged its flight, leaving only a bruised 
and battered frame for loving friends to bury with 
the homage and the honors due to a true man and 
a gallant soldier. 

In his death I lost one of the best friends I have 
ever known, and for whom I entertained the deep- 
est respect and the most sincere affection. Cir- 
cumstances arrayed us against each other during 
the war, but that very fact seemed to draw us the 
more closely together afterward, and to cement an 
affection which the attributes of our natures would 
have made a necessity under any circumstances. 
How carious a thing is human affinity. How 
strange are the repulsions and the attractions of 
life. For one, I am disposed to be guided by them, 
regarding them as divine insignia for the guid- 
ance, protection and comfort of mankind. And yet 
experience convinces me that they do not furnish 
infallible criteria for judgment or unerring direc- 
tions for conduct^ for one who proved himself of 


^Hliesaltof the earth" and ^^as true as steel itself" 
was a man whose tones chilled and whose counte- 
nance repelled me — when I first knew and shunned 

Through the instrumentality of General Grant 
I became acquainted with Judge Noah Davis and 
Judge John E. Brady, both of the supreme bench 
of New York. The former was suffering with an 
immense carbuncle upon the back, and had been at- 
tended by a physician whose specialty was the 
throat, and who was, consequently, at sea in the 
treatment of the case. At my first visit I ex- 
temporized a freezing mixture, and duly incised 
the carbuncle, to the great relief of the patient, 
and with the result, as he believes, of saving his 
life. The acquaintance thus formed ripened into 
n warm friendship, and my relations with these 
distinguished gentlemen have ever since been most 
cordial and agreeable. 

Though devoted friends, they are the direct an- 
tipodes of each other. Judge Brady is brimful of 
mirth and jollity. His powers of mimicry are un- 
surpassed, and in the role of the Paddy or the 
Dutchman or the Down-Easter, he is inimitable, 
especially on post-prandial occasions. He over- 
flows with good nature, and his heart is a garden 
in which every social virtue grows spontaneously 
and in profusion. Upon the bench, though learned 
and logical, his tendency is to the side of mercy 
and to the most favorable view of the situation. 
Though the wretch whom he condemns may de- 
spise the laiv, he never fails to regard the Judge as 
his friend and benefactor. Such is the influence of 
this good man's inherent and sympathetic human- 
ity . 

Judge Davis has been cast in a different mold. 
Grave, serious, dignified and, perhaps, austere, he 

514 A doctor's experiexces 

is the embodiuient of justice, pure and simple. 
With him the law is paramount and its thorough 
execution the end and object of his existence. 
Honest himself to the last degree, he regards dis- 
honesty in every shape and guise as an insult to- 
heaven and an outrage upon humanity, and he 
would punish it if the judgment snapped his heart- 
strings or condemned him to perdition. In pri- 
vate life he is the soul of honor — conscientious to 
the most superlative degree and loyal to every ob- 
ligation. Believing that I was instrumental in 
saving his life, he has been my most devoted 
friend, and has seemed to regard no service ade- 
quate to the expression of his faith and affection. 
General Grant never rendered a more important 
service than when he threw such a patient into 
my hands, and my thankfulness will follow him 
through life. 

The Hon. S. Teakle Wallis, of Baltimore, vis- 
ited Paris in the summer of 1884^ and being some- 
what indisposed, I had an opportunity of renewing 
the pleasant relations which had subsisted between 
him and myself during the trial of the Levy will 
case. I have traveled much and have known 
many men, but I have never encountered one who 
comes more fully up to the standard embodied in 
th.Q w or di gentleman than he. There is something 
in his tall and graceful figure, his cleanly cut and 
aristocratic features, and his manly, independent 
and thoroughbred bearing which instantly at- 
tracts attention and challenges admiration. No- 
blesse oblige is written in every line of his classic 
face, every scintillation of his keen, gray eye, 
every tone of his clear, incisive and sympathetic 
voice, and in all that relates to his intellectual and 
corporeal organization, in such distinctive char- 
acters as precludes the slightest mistake in its- 

n O X . S . T E A K L E W A L L I S . 


reading or error in its interpretation. Nature, in 
truth, has been lavish with him, has surfeited him 
with her gifts and graces, and, as if to attract at- 
tention to her work, she has left upon his every 
trait and lineament the stamp of lofty genius and 
true nobility. 

Though endowed with brilliant forensic powers 
and possessed of profound legal erudition, the pre- 
dominating principle of his nature is moral worth. 
In him the gifted jurist is subordinated to the im- 
maculate gentleman. He is nothing if he is not 
honest, just and true. His creed is first to be right 
and then to bring his splendid talents and great 
learning to the elucidation and maintenance of his 

It is a remarkable circumstance and yet one uni- 
versally appreciated, that, in his case, exalted 
character has proved the best of investments in a 
business sense. Realizing the influence of his pur- 
ity of soul and rectitude of purpose upon courts 
and juries^ a majority of clients seek his services 
not more to secure the benefit of his abilities and 
legal knowledge than to clothe themselves and 
their causes in the panoply of his unimpeachable 
character. Thus it is that the highest tribute that 
can be paid to human worth is daily paid by hu- 
man astuteness to this great and good man ; while 
he, all unconscious of the source of the offering, 
gathers in continually a rich harvest of profes- 
sional remuneration and reputation. I am de- 
lighted to number such a man among my friends 
and patients, for he is the type of all that is -loyal 
in friendship, while he brought to my office a 
flood of sunshine and a host. of associations which 
brightened the monotony of my professional exist- 
ence and filled my soul with pleasant memories. 

Referring to him in this connection reminds me 

516 A doctor's experiences 

of the masterly manner in which he conducted the 
case for the defendants in the trial to which I have 
referred. Throwing down the glove as to the 
question of the character of one of the principal wit- 
nesses, and enveloping him in the mantle of his 
own honorahility by declaring that he appeared 
more in the capacity of a personal friend than a 
retained advocate, he drove the plaintiffs from one 
of their supposed strongest positions, and won for 
his clients the sympathy alike of be.nch and panel. 
Then, seizing the advantage he had gained, and 
trusting to the favorable impression it had made 
upon the jury, he offered to submit the case with- 
out argument — thus demonstrating his absolute 
confidence in its merits and silencing one of the 
most powerful advocates in the profession. The 
-venture proved a master stroke ; and a favorable 
verdict, instantly rendered, delighted those whom 
he represented, and vindicated his claim to the at- 
tributes of genius as a jurist and advocate. 

Lady Anna Gore-Langton, while en route from 
Cannes to London, fell in an apoplectic fit a few 
years since, and I was summoned to attend her. She 
was the only sister of the Duke of Buckingham, who 
at that time was the governor of Bombay, and, hence, 
she belonged to one of the oldest and proudest fami- 
lies of England. Her father had wasted his estate 
even to the extent of cutting off the entail, which 
necessitated the acceptance by his son of theofi&cial 
23osition to which I have referred, but the daugh- 
ter had had the good sense to marry the man of 
ber choice, in spite of parental protest, and he hap- 
pened to possess a large estate, though inferior to 
her in social status. She was a plethoric woman 
of about fifty-six years, and her life was placed in 
imminent jeopardy by the seizure. By a resort to 
heroic remedies, reinforced by the most devoted at- 


tention of her daughter, I succeeded in saving her, 
though she had a long and tedious convalescence. 
When sulficiently recovered to hear the journey, I 
accompanied her to London and remained for several 
days a guest in her house, which was one of the finest 
in the city, and furnished with great taste and 
luxury. I had a delightful time in London, as her 
family regarded me as the rescuer of their mother, 
and sought to show their appreciation of my ser- 
vices by overwhelming me with kindnesses and at- 
tentions. I was introduced to a large number of 
the nobility, paraded in public as a hero and bene- 
factor, and driven through Hyde park daily in one 
of the most splendid equipages of that aristocratic 
resort. To crown it all, I was presented with a 
princely fee — more than £300 — and discharged, 
when her ladyship had recovered, with the warmest 
expressions of gratitude, and the assurance that I 
should be telegraphed for in the event of another 
attack. This was one of the most agreeable epi- 
sodes of my professional life, and I contemplate it 
now with the most pleasurable emotions. 1 regret 
to record, however, that I was not called again, as 
the patient fell suddenly some months afterward 
and died almost instantaneously. Her eldest son,. 
Mr. William Grore-Langton, the present M. P. for 
Bath, will become the Marquis of Chandos should 
his uncle die without issue, which is not improb- 
able considering his advanced years. The daugh- 
ter, whose devoted care of her mother I have al- 
ready chronicled, has since followed her example 
and married a plebeian, though a lady in her own 
right ; and she still shows her appreciation of my 
work by occasionally writing a friendly letter to 
my daughter. I have never met a finer girl or one 
whose head was less turned by rank, wealth and 
fashionable society. 

518 A doctor's experiences 

I was much amused by an incident which oc- 
curred on our journey to London. As we passed 
through a dark tunnel I removed my hat, and in 
doing so it touched her head as she was sitting 
near me. I heard a sudden shriek and, divining its 
cause, I kept my hand extended with the hat in it 
so that she might properly understand the contre- 
temps when there was light enough to discern sur- 
rounding objects. As we emerged from the dark- 
ness, I found that she had retreated into the oppo- 
site corner and was crimson with blushes and in a 
great state of agitation. So soon as she saw the 
extended arm and the transgressing hat she broke 
out into a merry laugh, and said : " Whj^ — Doctor 
Warren ! I thought you had tried to kiss me in 
the tunnel. I am so relieved." At which remark 
the old lady laughed, but sardonically. The English 
have remarkably strict ideas in regard to the rear- 
ing of their girls, keeping them rigorously tied to 
the apron-strings of their mothers, and tolerating 
no familiarity on their part with the opposite sex, 
es23ecially since the days of the Prince of Wales' 

Speaking of my fee in this case reminds me of a 
singular custom which prevails in England in that 
regard. A medical man is supposed to be so much 
above a mere trader that it is deemed impolite to 
ask him his fee or even to give it to him openly. 
At each visit a pound is carefully enveloped in a 
piece of white paper and dropped clandestinely in 
his hand as it is shaken at parting. So universally 
is this done that whenever an Englishman fails in 
its performance, I take it for granted that he does 
not propose to pay me at all, and I am generally 
right in the supposition. I must say that the young 
bloods of the Isle are, as a general rule, the poor- 
est paymasters in Christendom. They seem to 


think that they have compensated a physician suf- 
iiciently by allowing him the privilege of attend- 
ing them, and they neglect to pay him in any other 
€oin. Brass goes a long way in this world, but 
it will not settle a medical bill, you know. 

The French have similar ideas in regard to the 
dignity of the profession, but they are mostly con- 
fined to the doctors themselves. Nothing is so in- 
sulting to the average French physician as to ques- 
tion him in regard to his charges or to ask for his 
bill. A patient is expected to know the fee-table, 
and to hand the exact sum due for services sealed 
in an envelope or to place it without remark upon 
the table or mantel, so that it may be gathered in 
after his departure. So far is this carried, that, 
when an American offered to a Parisian celebrity a 
five-hundred franc bill for an office prescription, 
thinking that the change would be returned to 
him, the doctor quietly slipped it into his vest 
pocket as if it were beneath his dignity to consider 
a question of money. It is even considered as 
smacking too much of the shop to place a sign 
bearing one's name upon the front door of his house, 
though to secretly bribe a concierge or hotel mana- 
ger for patients is a matter of daily occurrence. 
Men in general, and doctors in particular, are only 
congeries of contradictions, and the ways of ^'pad- 
dling one's own canoe" are various and peculiar, 
my friend, even, in the world's great metropolis. 

It is a popular idea that physicians, as a class, 
are overpaid. This is the very reverse of the truth, 
so far as the great body of the profession is con- 
cerned. Taking into account the time, labor and 
vitality expended in acquiring a medical education, 
in keeping pace with the progress of medicine and 
in performing the intellectual and physical work of 

520 A doctor's experiences 

actual practice — to say nothing of the interest ^ 
anxiety, depression and heart tension to which the 
vocation necessitates — the pecuniary recompense 
of physicians is, as a general rule, absolutely inade- 

If the real value of the service rendered is con- 
sidered, the disparity between it and the extent ta 
which it is compensated becomes still more con- 
spicuous. A physician in the very nature of 
thins^s deals with the most essential interests of 
humanity — the issues joined between life and death 
— and yet he is rewarded, not in proportion to the 
importance of the result secured nor to the amount 
of skill displayed, but exclusively with reference 
to the length of time consumed in his labors. He 
may save some struggling life by the most dexter- 
ous manipulation or skillful surgical procedure, 
and only receive the compensation which might 
be claimed by some unfledged tyro or pretentious 
sagefemme. He may stay the life current as it 
gushed from an inert or paralyzed uterus and 
snatched an adored wife from the jaws of death by 
a resort to measures which have required the labors 
of centuries for their elimination, or been inspired 
by the quickening of his own genius beneath the 
spur of a great emergency, and still be forced to 
the humiliation of having the value of his work 
estimated by the number of minutes consumed in 
its execution. 

The laborer is worthy of his hire under all cir- 
cumstances, but the wages to be just and equitable 
must be estimated by the intrinsic value of the 
work performed, which is not the rule so far as 
physicians are concerned. All other professions 
are rewarded upon this principle, and society per- 
petrates a gross outrage upon the medical profes- 


sion when it establishes and enforces a different 
principle of compensation for its members. 

But this is not the whole story. Not only is the 
jDrinciple of compensation inherently unjust, but 
medical men are not paid even in accordance with 
its discriminating exactions. As my father re- 
marked in the outset of my career: "The most 
honest men intuitively shrink from the payment of 
medical bills and believe that they have been over- 
charged." When pain and anguish wring the 
brow or death confronts the sufferer, he is the 
most grateful and liberal of men, but when the 
blissful hyperdermic has done its work, and the 
grim demon has been driven from the field, the 
quieted heart grows callous, the strengthened hand 
grasps the purse strings, and a cliech is given to his 
generosity instead of a liberal check to his doctor. 
Such is human nature as we doctors see it — to learn 
from sad experience that it is a very poor and un- 
reliable thing at best, and to realize that there is a 
great deal of it in everybody. 

To every outsider who may read this page, I would 
say in the most emphatic manner: ''Never send 
for a physician unless it is necessary to do so ; never 
forget to treat him as a gentleman and an equal, 
and never fail to pay him promptly and liberally 
when he has completed his work. To withhold the 
recompense to which he is justly entitled is n^t 
simply to appropriate his money, but it is to rob 
him of his time, talents and vitality, and hence to 
commit an act which is the comble of meanness and 
ingratitude. Siiould the res angusta domi necessi- 
tate delay or failure upon your part to discharge 
your indebtedness, I beg you, in the name of com- 
mon honesty, not to resort to the criminal subter- 
fuge of pretending to impute fraud or extortion to 

522 A doctor's experiences 

the man who has relieved your agony or saved your 
life, but to tell him the truth, and to trust to his lib- 
erality for an amicable arrangement. Honesty is 
the best policy, even toward physicians. 




My Dear Doctor : 

The field of practice was hotly contested, how- 
ever, and calumnies of every possible description 
were invoked with the design of injuring my pri- 
vate character and of depreciating my professional 

The Wharton case was resuscitated and paraded 
in many different guises — or rather disguises — 
before the public. According to the misrepresen- 
tations of jealous rivals, 1 was "mixed up in a 
poisioning case and had to flee from Baltimore in 
the night" — thus ignoring the existence of my 
kind friend, the attorney-general, and showing 
that they were not bidden to the delicious dinner 
which we enjoyed together at Barnum's on the eve 
of my departure. 

• The imaginary '^clouds" under which I left 
Egypt, had they really existed, would have shrouded 
that country in pristine darkness, and precluded 
an escape from it save with the assistance of an 
electric light of the latest invention. 

One of the most extraordinary measures was in- 
voked in this regard which human ingenuity ever 
conceived of or executed. Certain slips of paper 
resembling clippings from the columns of the '• Fi- 
garo'' and the '^ Liber te,'' and containing villain- 
ous falsehoods respecting my career in Egypt, were 
circulated broadcast in Paris, to my infinite amaze- 

524 A doctor's experiences 

ment and annoyance. When the directors of these 
journals were approached with a demand for an 
explanation in regard to their publication, they 
declared that they had never heard of me, and de- 
fied the production of the editions of their papers 
containing them. These replies still further in- 
creased my wonder and perplexity. It was im- 
possible to imagine from whence these clippings 
had come or to unravel the mystery of their pub- 
lication and circulation — and still they had reached 
every one and were the wonder of the town. 

In my perplexity, I sought the late Mr. Sharp - 
stein — one of the partners of Arnold, Constable & 
Co. — with the hope of obtaining through his ex- 
perience and sagacity a solution of the mystery. 
Being an old "silk buyer" and possessed of an 
exquisite delicacy of touch, he had no sooner taken 
one of these clippings in his hand than he exclaimed : 
^'This is a double paper, or rather there are two 
papers here pasted together." Immersing it in 
water, two papers actually became visible — one 
having the libelous statement printed upon its 
presenting face, while its reverse surface was en- 
tirely blank, and the other being a veritable clip- 
ping from the Figaro, carefully pasted upon the 
blank side of its fellow. With a private press, a 
pair of scissors, old copies of the paper and a pot 
of paste, some clever scoundrel had manufactured 
these pretended clippings, and then by means of 
the post had circulated them throughout the com- 
munity with the design of doing me a serious in- 

That professional rivalry should have vented its 
spleen in such a refinement of malicious ingenuity 
seems scarcely credible in this age of moral develop- 
ment, and yet I had evidence of my own senses and 
wounded feeling to the fact. 


It is a remarkable circumstance, that, although 
the laws of France are exceptionally stringent in re- 
gard to defamation — punishing severely the publi- 
cation even of a fact reflecting on private character — 
there is no country in which calumny is so much 
employed for personal ends. 

The moment that a man displays superior talent 
of any kind or seems to prosper in life, he is re- 
garded as an enemy by his competitors and becomes 
a target for the shafts of an implacable enmity. 
His character is assailed, his antecedents are ques- 
tioned, his abilities are denied and he is pursued 
and vilified as if he were an escaped convict or a 
hired assassin. Though he may be as pure as an 
angel and his life that of an anchorite, he can no 
more escape traduction than his contributions to- 
the public treasury and his account to heaven. 
And, yet, it is never by fair and open methods that 
this murder of reputations and sacrifice of prospects 
are attempted. Anonymous letters, secret denun- 
ciations,* clandestine slanders, ominous hints, and 
every device that a vindictive but cowardly malig- 
nity can suggest are the means invoked for the ac- 
complishment of these infamous purposes. 

Such is the facon du 'pays, and I regret to say' 
that the foreigners domiciled here are not slow to 
adopt this guerrilla system of social warfare and to 
display an expertness in it and a relish for it which 
throws its originators completely in the shade. I 
say this with regret, but it is none the less true and 
susceptible of demonstration. 

I scarcely know an individual of prominence 
among my compatriots against whom I have not 
heard some abominable cancan — some whisper of a 
blot upon his or her escutcheon. . None escape this 

* See Appendix (W). 


drag-net of calumny whose talents or character or 
beauty or wealth attracts public attention and ex- 
cites ]3ersonal jealousy. 

Anonymous letters play a leading role in the so- 
cial life of this metropolis. In talking with friends 
in all circles — foreign as well as native — I have dis- 
covered that they have generally been the recipients 
of them. I have received them repeatedly — some 
containing warnings, others threats and a majority 
unfolding schemes of rascality having blackmail 
as their object. A lady conspicuous for her wealth, 
position and deeds of charity tells me that she re- 
ceives them by the score. I know of a young and 
respectable girl whose life has been rendered mis- 
erable for years by anonymous threats to expose 
letters that she has never written, and demanding 
money as the price of silence. 

In another instance within my knowledge^ an 
unmarried lady of high social standing was written 
to regularly for months by some unknown scoun- 
drel, who pretended that he had a child of hers in 
his keeping — writing sometimes as if in answer ta 
letters from her, and again in the name of his 
charge, soliciting money for the purchase of cloth- 
ing and food, and threatening exposure if his de- 
mands were not complied with. 

If one imagines that he is antagonized or injured,, 
he avoids an open quarrel and gives vent to his 
jealousy in anonymous letters to mutual friends, 
hinting at some damaging secret in the life of his 
rival or to the police accusing him of crime, and 
asking a strict surveillance over his actions. 

Strange as it may seem, these letters are encour- 
aged by the authorities, who file them with the 
dossier of the denounced and investigate their 
charges, whatever may be his position in life. I am 
convinced that it is the countenance which is thus 


given to this clandestine mode of attack that per- 
petuates it in France ; that the police is mainly 
responsible for a vice which has its origin in the 
lowest passions of the people, and is at once an evi- 
dence and a source of public demoralization. The 
city is filled with agencies * which coin money by 
supplying testimony against the probity of men,and 
the virtue of women, without regard to the real 
character of those assailed or the base purposes for 
which their renseignments are to be employed. 

But to return to my story. I went immediately 
to the prefect of police, who was then Mr. Gigot — 
a thorough gentleman and a most capable officer — 
and called his attention to the diabolical plot which 
had been attempted against me. 

He took an active interest in the matter, and 
after tracing the villainy to its source, gave its au- 
thors a warning, which, I am sure, they have never 
ceased to remember, and has served to correct their 
conduct if not to improve their morals. 

He ascertained that their special object was to 
prevent me from receiving the Cross of the Legion 
of Honor, which they imagined was likely to occur 
and to give me additional reputation. 

Their malignity was well conceived, but it over- 
reached itself, for the measure invoked to defeat 
me was really instrumental in advancing my inter- 
ests. It was through the active intervention of 
Mr. Gigot, whose good will I secured by appealing 
to him in this instance, that the minister of for- 
eign aflPairs was induced to investigate my claims 
to the decoration and eventually to accord it. 
Thus it was that the " engineer was hoisted by his 
own petard," and flowers grew where only thorns 
were planted. 

*See Appendix (X). 

528 A doctor's experiences 

One of the principal obstacles which I found in 
my path to success was the system prevailing in 
hotels, by which some special physician, and as a 
general rule an inferior one, is thrust upon every 
luckless guest who requires medical attendance. 
These medicins titulaires, as they are denominated, 
practice in most instances, not in the interest of 
patients, but of landlords, and are less interested 
in effecting cures than in putting money in their 
own pockets, and in increasing the profits of their 
employers. Travelers should make it a rule never to 
take or to retain a physician who is thus recom- 
mended until they have inquired of their banker 
or their consul or some resident friend as to his 
character and standing. 

The exposition of '78 found me permanently lo- 
cated in Paris, and the governor of North Carolina 
— my old friend, the Hon. Z. B. Vance — very 
kindly appointed me a special commissioner. 

The French commissioner-in-chief, for reasons of 
his own, declined to recognize special State com- 
missioners, although their tenure of office was as 
good as that of the chief American commissioner, 
and was based upon one of the provisions of the very 
act of Congress which gave official existence to the 
commission itself. 

There was thus inaugurated a bitter controversy 
between these special commissioners on the one 
hand and the chief French commissioner on the 
other, but as the latter possessed absolute power in 
the premises, the former were driven from the field 
and returned home with their useless commissions 
in their pockets and the deepest disgust in their 

Although I took no open part in this fight, my 
feelings were not the less enlisted, and while my 
colleagues submitted to the outrage, I determined 


to maintain my rights if within the range of 

Without discussing the matter with any one, I 
went directly to the minister ofv*agriculture and 
-commerce, who was ex-qfficio the head and front of 
the exposition, and presented to him the commis- 
sion which I held from the executive of North Caro- 
lina, requesting to be duly recognized and regis- 
tered. As this document bore the signature of 
•Governor Vance the great seal of the State of 
North Carolina and the indorsement of the Secre- 
tary of State of the United States, he naturally 
recognized it as bona fide, and received and regis- 
tered me as one of the commissioners of the expo- 
sition of 1878. 

The other commissioners, both Federal and State, 
having simply reported to the chief commissioner 
of the United States, were only known to the French 
authorities through him and as his assistants, 
while I, a special State commissioner only and one 
of those to whom all official existence had been 
denied, had a locus standi of my own — occupied a 
position at once independent in itself and scarcely 
inferior in dignity to that of the highest official of 
the United States. It resulted therefore that while 
other commissioners received no special recognition 
and were dependent upon the United States head- 
quarters for favors of all kinds, every French min- 
ister made it a point to call on me^ and invitations 
to the whole series of official entertainments were 
sent directly to my house. 

In a word, so far from being ignored and forced 
to retire in humiliation and disgust, as was the case 
with all others who held appointments as special 
commissioners, I was received as a regular commis- 
sioner, and was treated with as much honor and 

O 1 

530 A doctor's experiexces 

consideration as any other functionary connected 
with the exposition. 

It is true that my name was carefully omitted 
from the list sen^ in from the United States head- 
quarters for the decoration of the Legion of Honor^ 
as I had hoped and expected, but as the minister 
did not forget to send me a ^' commissioner's medal 
of merit/' accompanied by a letter distinctly recog- 
nizing my status, and as the higher honor was be- 
stowed soon afterward on special grounds, I had 
no reason to regret the stand which I made for the 
rights acquired under the great seal of the State of 
North Carolina. 

Much experience has convinced me that it is better 
to die i^ a contest for one's own than to live to the 
age of Methuselah in the role of a compromiser 
and a craven. Let a man stand up for his rights 
if he desires to live in peace and to command re- 
spect of his fellows. I certainly had no reason ta 
regret the determined fight which I made for recog- 
nition in connection with the exposition of 1878. 

Finding that the United States Government had 
sent a company of marines as a guard to the Ameri- 
can exhibit, and that there were also a number of 
officers of the army and navy on duty in the same 
connection, I volunteered to attend them profes- 
sionally whenever they might require medical ser- 
vices. The -work was far more engrossing and la- 
borious than I had anticipated, but I performed it 
cheerfully, and with the result of forming some en- 
during friendships and of eliciting the cordial 
commendation of the officer in charge of the ma- 
rines, the chief officer of the Marine Corps, and 
the Secretary of the Navy of the United States. "^ 

I shall always cherish pleasant memories of the 

* See ApiDendix (Y). 


exposition, as it brought me in contact with many 
agreeable people and was the source of an abund- 
ant professional harvest. 

My house was the scene of a perpetual gaiety as 
the city was filled with strangers, among whom 
were troops of old friends, and many with letters of 
introduction from outre mer. It was a rare thing 
for us to dine en farnille ; we gave grand dinners 
frequently and my wife had an evening reception 
every fortnight, with music and dancing, and at 
which "■ All went merry as a marriage bell." 

Prosperous in business, surrounded by the friends 
of other days, and those of a more recent aquaint- 
ance, with a daughter just budding into woman- 
hood, and a wife who was idolized by all who 
knew her_, my cup of happiness seemed again filled 
to repletion and the future loomed up like a vista 
canopied by perpetual sunshine and wreathed in 
perennial flowers. 

I fondly dreamed that the battle of life was 
fought and won ; that care had winged its eternal 
flight from my household, and that the evening of 
my days was destined to be as cloudless and tran- 
quil as their morning had been dark and stormy. 

Could I have looked into the future I should 
have welcomed death as a blessing. Could I have 
turned over a single page in my life's history I 
should have sought a refuge beneath the waters of 
the Seine. How fortunate that we cannot see the 
gathering cloud — cannot know of the impending 
blow — cannot anticipate the dire calamity. What 
would life have been if the revelation had then 
beeii made that the greatest possible misfortune 
was to fall upon me — that my heart's supremest 
idol was to be snatched from my loving . arms and 
consigned to the chilling confines of the tomb? 

And yet so it was written. While I was delud- 

532 A doctor's experiences 

ing myself with these fond dreams the tree had 
grown out of which her coffin was to he made — 
the ground had been measured in which her lovely 
body was to crumble into dust — the edict had gone 
forth which was to summon her pure spirit to its 
home in heaven. 

A few months after these happy days our hearts 
were made glad by the prospect of another child — 
another beautiful boy, as we hoped, to bear your 
name and to console us for our beloved ones in 
heaven. All went well until about the middle of 
the sixth month, and then — without the slighest 
warning or the manifestation of a single sign of 
danger, when she felt unusually well, and was in 
one of her gayest and happiest moods — the blow 
came like a lightning's flash in a cloudless sky, 
and she lay prostrate, speechless and dying before 
my eyes. 

After the conclusion of my office hours on Sun- 
day, the 29th of June, 1879, I went into her room 
and found her engaged in reading. As I was not 
particularly pressed with business, I lit my cigar, 
sat down by her side, and spent an hour in de- 
lightful communion with her. In some way our 
minds ranged over the field of the past, and we 
talked together of our lover days ; of the war and 
its varied incidents ; of our struggle in Baltimore; 
of our life in the East ; of our dead babies — the 
one sleeping under the elms of Greenmount and 
the other beneath the shadow of the Pyramids — 
and of our happy days in Paris. " One thing is 
certain," she said, we have not only loved each 
other supremely, but we have been the best of 
friends through it all." Of course, we talked of 
you — of your devotion to me and of your kindness 
to her in the birth of her babies — and wondered 
what you would say when a little Frenchman was 


called after you. Then a note was brought to her 
from a friend, and as she was engaged in reading 
it I planted a kiss upon her brow and took my de- 
parture, my mind filled with the tender sentiments 
and sweet memories which her words had inspired. 

After I had left^ first one of my daughters and 
then the other remained with her, while she chatted 
gaily and seemed unusually well and happy. 

She was then left alone for a short time, when a 
servant in an adjoining room heard something like* 
a groan, and rushing into her chamber found her 
unconscious and in convulsions. 

The entire household was immediately at her 
bedside, and made every posible effort to arouse her, 
but all in vain ; she spoke not a word, she gave no 
sign of consciousness. 

Having made my round of visits I hurried home, 
never dreaming of danger, and anticipating her 
wonted welcome of love and tenderness — to be met 
at the door by my eldest daughter with blanched 
cheeks and tearful eyes and the terrible announce- 
ment that her mother '' had fainted and could not 
be revived." Benumbed with fright and horror, I 
rushed into her chamber, to find my darling speech- 
less and convulsed, attacked with puerperal eclamp- 
sia in its congestive and most fatal form. How I 
summoned the physicians of the neighborhood ; 
listened to the death sentence which they immedi- 
ately pronounced ; saw them exhaust remedies in 
the vain hope of resisting the march of death ; 
joined in the prayer for the dying at her bedside ; 
and witnessed nature's last despairing struggle as 
her pure spirit left its earthly tabernacle and 
winged its flight to Heaven, are burnt as if with a 
hot iron into my heart, and can never be erased 
from my memory. 

You knew her, my friend, and you can appreciate 

534 A doctor's experiences 

tlie fulness of my grief and the depth of my despair. 
You can understand how utterly lonely and desolate 
life is without her. You can comprehend how it is 
that, deprived of her guidance and support, I float 
upon the tide of existence like some rudderless ship, 
a plaything of the billows, and at the mercy of the 

It was thus that my once happy home was de- 
spoiled of its sunshine and filled with darkness. It 
was thus that my cup of happiness became a mock- 
ery, and that its waters were wasted and scattered 
to the winds. 

It is thus that death has pursued me around the 
world, robbing me of my treasures, and shrouding 
my soul in an eternal gloom. 

About a week after this dreadful calamity I 
was sitting with my children by my lonely hearth, 
a prey to sad reflections and bitter memories, when 
there was a ring at the door, and a letter was 
brought to me inclosed in an official envelope. 

^* Read it, my daughter," I said to my eldest 
child, '^for I really have not the energy to break 
the seal." In a moment her arms were around my 
neck, while she exclaimed: ^' Cheer up, father ! 
Cheer up ! This is glorious news ! Oh ! I am so 
proud. You have the Cross of the Legion of 
Honor.* Thank God ! Just listen to this," and 
she read aloud the following letter : 

'^MoNSEiUR : J'ai examine avec interet les titres 
que vous vousetes acquis parvotre devouement et vos 
services a une marque de distinction particuliere, et 
je suis heureux de vous annoncer que M. le Presi- 
dent de la Republique a bien voulu, sur ma pro- 
position, vous conferer la Croix de Chevalier de la 

See Appendix (Z). 


Legion d'Honneur. Je me felicite cl'avoir ete a 
me me d'appeler sur vous cette marque de bien veil- 
lance de la part du Chef de I'Etat. j'aurai soin 
de vous faire parvenir tres prochainement le diplome 
et les insignes de I'Ordre. 

Eecevez, Monsieur, 1' assurance de ma considera- 
tion distinguee. 

Le President du Conseil, Ministre des Affaires 

(Signed) Waddington. 

Monsieur le Docteur Warren, Paris. 

'' And she not here," was my first thought and 

'•'But we are here, father," cried both of my 

" Yes my loves, and for your dear sakes I rejoice 
that this great honor has come to me. How much 
lietter that it should have come in this way — on 
professional grounds and as a special mark of distinc- 
tion. How grateful I am to Mr. Waddington for 
Temembering me ! Nor shall I ever forget Mr. 
Oigot, the Count de Narbonne, Mr. Hutchinson, 
old Abbe Blanc and the other kind friends for what 
they have done in the matter. I certainly have been 
blessed with good friends, and that is something to 
be proud of and grateful for in this life." 

" It is a great honor, father," said my daughter, 
^' and it is you who have merited and won it, though 
I am not the less grateful to your friends, and es- 
pecially for their thoughtfulness at this particular 
moment. I shall love them as long as I live." 

" Bring me pen and paper and let me write and 
thank them at once. What a curious experience I 
have had in life ! How strangely are its misfor- 
tunes and its blessings mingled in the woof of my 
destiny ! My promotion in Egypt came a few days 

536 A doctok's experiences 

after the baby's death, you remember, and now the 
greatest honor of my life comes immediately after 
my greatest misfortune. Such has been my lot 
always and so it will be to the end, I suppose. 
But what do I care for honors when your mother 
is not here to share them with me?" 

" Don't talk in that way, dear father, for our 
sakes. Besides, she rejoices over them — she shares- 
them with you, and it may be that she has sent 
this to cheer and to console you." 

'' I wish I had your faith, my child." 

'^ It is her faith, father. She taught me to be- 
lieve so, and you must think so, as well." 

" I know that she is with the blessed. If I had 
never before believed in a heaven I should believe 
in it now, for there miLst be a home for such pure 
spirits as hers to dwell and rest in." 

Few things have proved more valuable to me 
than the piece of red rihbon which I wear in my 
button hole, since in France it is always accepted 
as an evidence of the respectability and ]30sition of 
its possessor. I have found it of special service 
when brought in contact with members of our pro- 
fession, for their appreciation of foreign confreres 
requires stimulation, and they are all so desirous of 
wearing "the cross " themselves that they never 
fail to honor the man who has been fortunate 
enough to win it. 

One thing can be said in regard to this decora- 
tion which materially enhances its value, and it is, 
that money cannot buy it. There are numbers of 
persons in France who would gladly expend mill- 
ions to obtain it, but there is no instance on record 
in connection with w^hich there has been even a 
suspicion of bribery or corruption in this regard. 
Political influences may perhaps have led to too lib- 


eral a distribution of it, but venality has played no 
part in the matter. 

Speaking of decorations, I must tell you that one 
of Tewfick Pasha's first acts was to send me the 
star of the Osmanieh — one of the highest orders, 
and I reproduce with great satisfaction a letter 
from Mr. Wolf, the consul-general of the United 
States at Cairo, explaining the grounds upon which 
it was given : 

United States Agency and Consulate-General^ 

Cairo, March 2, 1882. 
Dr. E. Warren-Bey. 

Dear Sir : I have the honor to inclose herewith 
the decree of his highness, the Khedive of Egypt, 
appointing you a Commander of the Osmanieh ; also 
the decoration of the same grade. 

This honor has been conferred upon you for valu- 
able and important services rendered in Egypt, and 
for great medical skill displayed in Paris. 
I am, dear sir, your very obedient servant, 

S. Wolf, 
Agent and Consul-General. 

Besides the orders to which I have already re- 
ferred in the course of this narrative, I have received 
that of the Redemption of the Holy Sepulchre of 
Jerusalem, and that of the White Cross of Italy, to- 
gether with the medal of Victor Emanuel, all, I am 
proud to say, on account of professional successes 
and work done in the cause of humanity. 

I have also had the honor of receiving the hon- 
orary degree of C. M. — Master of Surgery — from 
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Balti- 
more, and that of LL. D. — Doctor of Laws — from 
the University of North Carolina, the latter being 

538 . ' A doctor's experiences '' 

accompanied hj the following letter from tlie Hon. 
Kemp P. Battle, president of the institution : 

University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill, N.C, 20ih June,lSM. 
Dr. Edward Warren-Bey. 

Sir: In recognition of your distinguished ability 
and learning and services to humanity, the board 
of trustees and the faculty of the University of 
North Carolina have unanimously conferred on 
you the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. 

They hope that you will accept this evidence of 
the regard of the university of your native State. 
I have the honor to be your obt. servt., 

Kemp P. Battle, 


Coming from the university of my native State 
this degree has proved the source of more real grat- 
ification than all of my foreign honors combined. 
It has, likewise, warmed up my bosom toward 
North Carolina and inspired me with a stronger 
desire and a firmer purpose to prove myself worthy 
of her — worthy to be recognized as her son and to 
wear her honors. I have always loved her, but 
my affection is now intensified, and I feel that 
there is not a rock upon her rugged mountains nor 
a blade of grass within her grand savannas nor a 
ripple upon her majestic streams — not a foot of her 
soil from Buncombe to the sea without a place in 
my heart ; and wherever my feet may wander or 
whatever my fate may be, for her my every 
thought shall be a prayer, and my latest breath a 


For freely my life's blood bestowing, 
For her I would sever each vein ; 

And die for the pleasure of knowing 
My anguish had saved her a pain. 


It had been my purpose to give you a detailed 
narrative of my experiences in Paris, but this 
work has already been extended beyond the limits 
of my original purpose, and reflection has con- 
vinced me that I am too closely identified with the 
iocidents and persons I would describe to write 
with freedom respecting them. 

I must therefore bring these memoirs to a con- 
clusion, with one page of my life's history only 
partially written, hoping at some future time to 
find myself in a position to supply the deficiency. 

Before bidding you adieu I must say this much : 
The longer I have resided abroad the more in- 
tensely American have I become and the greater 
has grown my love and appreciation of my native 
land. Other lands may possess their treasures of 
art, their marvels of luxury, their triumphs of 
architecture, and all that is calculated to captivate 
the imagination and to ravish the senses, but for 
/the truest solution of the problem of existence, the 
grandest victories of human skill over the laws of 
nature, the most fortuitous combination of those 
conditions which constitute society, and the perfec- 
tion of a governmental system — that which gov- 
erns the least and protects the most — America is 
the land pre-eminently blessed of Heaven. Call 
me an enthusiast if you will, but for me her skies 
are the brightest, her mountains the grandest, her 
rivers the broadest, her fields the greenest, her 
women the loveliest, her men the noblest, her his- 
tory the proudest, and all that relates to her the 
best of all the world besides. Elsewhere her sons 
may be content to linger for a season, but to them 
she is the only land in which they can ever realize 
the idea of liome or feel that they are aught else 
than aliens and sojourners. 

540 A doctor's experiences in three continents. 

And now the hour has come for parting, and I 
bid you farewell with a heart filled with afPection 
and gratitude, and the assurance that my prayers 
shall never fail to invoke heaven's richest blessings 
on you and yours. 


I append a postscript in order to bring out more conspicu- 
ously certain facts respecting Egypt and Paris. 

A — The word Khedive is of Eastern origin, and 
signifies something more than viceroy and little 
less than king. Ismail Pasha was the first of the 
rulers of Egypt to whom the Sultan accorded this 
title — and he had to pay well for it — but it is now 

B — The Citadel, as it is designated at present, is 
an establishment partaking both of the nature of a 
palace and of a fortification. It contains a selam- 
lik and hareem — both magnificently decorated — 
quarters for officers, barracks for soldiers, stabling 
for several hundred horses, and endless courts^ 
arsenals, magazines, depots and workshops, while 
it is surrounded by a massive stone wall, upon the 
parapets of which are mounted cannon, commanding 
Cairo and the surrounding country. 

It is the center of everything military appertain- 
ing to Egypt, the minister of war and the heads 
of the various branches of the service having their 
offices there, a considerable force of all arms being 
always stationed in it, and a large supply of muni- 
tions and stores being deposited in its spacious re- 
ceptacles. It is not only used as the ministry of 


war, but it is kept as an asylum for the Khedive 
and his family in the event of any revolution or in- 
vasion, with everything arranged to conduce to 
their comfort and security, and with Cairo and the 
surrounding country at the mercy of its guns. 

It was in the main court of this palace that the 
massacre of the Mamelukes took place. Mehemet 
A]i, having been ordered by the Sultan to make war 
on the Wahabees, and knowing that it was a plot for 
his destruction, because it constrained him to leave 
the Mamelukes — his implacable and unscrupulous 
enemies — behind him, he invited them to a grand 
banquet at the Citadel, and when they were leaving 
it and had assembled in its court-yard he opened 
fire on them with artillery and musketry — with the 
result of destroying all but one of the entire band. 
Emin-Bey, their chief, leaped his horse from the 
parapet to the plain below — a distance of sixty feet — 
and then took refuge in a mosque, where he found 
an asylum until a path was opened for him to the 
favor of the destroyer of his friends and followers. 

Mehemet Ali has been condemned without stint 
or limitation for his treachery in this regard. 
Having passed daily for months over the scene of 
this massacre, I have reflected much on all the facts 
connected with it, and have reached the conclusion 
that more than a full measure of censure has been 
heaped upon him. Without pretending to acquit 
him of blame, I would premise by saying that his 
conduct should not be measured by ordinary stand- 
ards, but by those which the circumstances of the 
case and the ethics of the period unite in establish- 
ing. They were all rude and desperate men, living 
by the sword, and taking the chances of life and 
death at every breath — each party seeking to obtain 
the advantage of the other Avithout regard to the 
means employed^ and to push that advantage to an 



extremity. The country was not large enough for 
both of them, and either the Mamelukes or Mehemet 
All had to go to the wall — had to be crushed and 
annihilated — and the sooner, and the more effectu- 
ally this stamping-out process could be effected by 
one or the other, the better for the country and for 

Mehemet Ali knew that to turn his back upon 
his enemies — to leave the Mamelukes with all their 
vindictiveness, unscrupulousness and power of evil 
in his rear — was to consent to his own destruction ; 
and hence rather than become their victim he victi- 
mized them. Instead of playing the role of a 
martyr he boldly played that of an executioner. 
It was veritably a question with the Pasha of Aut 
Ccesar, aut nullus, and he decided in favor of CcesaVy 
as most men would have done under like circum- 

Of course, ethically considered the path of duty 
was in the direction of the Wahabees, and his obli- 
gation was to follow it, leaving the result to Provi- 
dence ; but unfortunately he was a Turk — he pro- 
fessed that faith which has been promulgated by the 
sword and which recognizes no other argument or 

However unpardonable the sin of the Viceroy 
may have been, it proved an unmitigated blessing 
to Egypt, since it destroyed the power of those 
'^ furious horsemen" who had so long been its terror 
and its scourge, and inaugurated the only approxi- 
mation to peace within its borders which it had 
known for at least a century. 

Sucb were my reflections as I drove over the 
ground which received the blood of these haughty 
desperadoes ; and when I united to them the con- 
sideration that but for their destruction the dynasty 
of Mehemet Ali would never have existed — that 


Ibrahim, Said and Ismail would have been tobacco 
merchants or sheep graziers, as their fathers were — 
and that Egypt would have remained only a 
province of the Saltan, steeped in ignorance, sur- 
rendered to fanaticism, and without that great 
work which is the highway of the nations and one 
of the wonders of the world, I must confess to you 
that I have shed no tears over their slaughter, and 
uttered no anathemas against their destroyer. 

My offices were in the Citadel, and gorgeous 
affairs they were, with silk-covered divans, damask 
curtains, arabesbue cornices, elaborate wainscots, 
lofty walls, sky-blue ceilings, marble floors, and 
other marvels of Eastern luxury. They had evi- 
dently been intended as the apartments of some 
high functionary about the court, and were want- 
ing in nothing that oriental taste could suggest or 
that money wrung from despairing fellahs could 

In the midst of all this magnificence not a picture 
nor a statue was to be founds as such works are 
contrary to the Moslem creed, being regarded as 
tricks of the devil and evidences only of the weak- 
ness of human nature. The Prophet is very em- 
phatic in his denunciation of the makers of pictures 
and images, declaring that at the day of judgment 
every representation of things of this kind will be 
placed before its author, and that he will be required 
to infuse life into it, under the penalty of being 
cast into hell in the event of failure. 

Ismail Pasha, in defiance alike of the injunction 
of the Koran and the prejudices of his people, had 
erected in Cairo a fine equestrian statue of Ibrahim 
Pasha, his distinguished father, bat one of the 
first acts of the populace in the days of Arabi's fiasco 
was to pull it down and to break it into fragments. 

Photographs of the Khedive and his sons were, 


"however, exposed for sale in all the bookstores of 
Cairo, and I have in my possession one of his eldest 
daughter, feminine vanity having triumphed over 
the precepts of Islam and the difficulties of her 

I take it for granted that the photograph was 
taken by a female operative, as she would hardly 
have ventured to expose her face to a male, whatever 
lier inclinations may have been. «. 

C — In Egypt great stress is put upon the cover- 
ing of the head. Beys and pashas invariably wear 
the tarbouche, taking care to have them of fine 
quality — those made in Constantinople being pre- 
ferred — and never going without them save when 
^bout to retire for the night. The man of highest 
position in any company has the right to remove 
liis tarbouche temporarily, while it is considered a 
mark of ill-breeding and an impoliteness for an in- 
ferior to do so. One of the reasons for wearing 
the tarbouche so persistently is that it is customary 
for the Egyptians to shave their heads, leaving 
only a single patch on the apex. This custom — 
that of leaving a topknot — according to Lane, 
^' originated in the fear that if the Moslem should 
fall into the hands of an infidel and be slain, 
the latter might cut off the head of his victim, and 
finding no hair by which to hold it, put his im- 
pure hand into the mouth in order to carry it." 
The head is shaved as a matter of cleanliness and 
comfort. Believing it inconsistent with the re- 
spect that is due to everything which has apper- 
tained to the human body to leave it upon the 
ground, they take great pains to gather up clip- 
pings of hair and to preserve them. 

Those below the ranks of bey and pasha — which. 


are regarded as titles of nobility — wear turbans- 
varying in color and shape according to the posi- 
tions and circumstances of their wearers. Thus, 
the Copts wear black turbans ; the descendants of 
Mohammed green ; the Jewish subjects of the Sul- 
tan blue or light brown, and the Moslems white. 

The hat is held in utter disdain, being regarded 
as an open acknowledgment of Christianity and of 
avowed antagonism to Islam. 

I was quite amused during the late war between 
Eussia and Turkey to notice the appearance or the 
disappearance of tarhoucJies according as matters 
went well or ill with the Turkish arms. When- 
ever there was a report of a victory for the Turks^ 
red fezes bloomed out extravagantly in the streets 
of Paris, but when the intelligence of disaster ar- 
rived, they disappeared as if by magic, and the 
Moslem heads which had gloried in them knew 
them no more for the time being. 

D — Alexandria was founded by Alexander the 
Great in the year 332 B. C. Having taken pos- 
session of Egypt without striking a blow, and find- 
ing that there was no opportunity for exercising 
his valor, he occupied himself in the task of im- 
proving his conquest, and, with the inspiration of 
genius, selected the site of a city which, in the 
language of a historian, ^'should derive from 
nature more permanent advantages than the favor 
of the greatest princes could bestow." Such was 
the sagacity of his choice that within the space of 
twenty years Alexandria rose to a distinguished 
eminence among the cities of Egypt and the East, 
and continued throughout all the subsequent ages 
of antiquity ''the principal bond of union, the 


seat of correspondence and commerce among the 
civilized nations of the earth." 

The destruction of the Alexandrian library has 
always been regarded as one of the most unfortun- 
ate events recorded in history. The quarter of 
the city called Bruchon was the seat of the palaces 
and of the museum which contained the greater 
portion of this library — at least four hundred 
thousand volumes. This building remained in- 
tact until the reign of Aurelian, and v^ras then de- 
stroyed during some civil commotion. The Sera- 
pion or temple of Jupiter Serapis, containing the 
remainder of the library, was destroyed under the 
reign of Theodosius the Great, who devoted all of 
the heathen temples to destruction without taking 
into account the immense injury done to learning 
and civilization by his intemperate zeal for Chris- 
tianity. Though commended by ancient writers as 
"a prince blessed with every virtue, and debased 
by no vicious propensity," he thus committed an 
act of unparalleled barbarity — one for which he 
has been censured by the devotees of letters and 
of science in every age. An attempt, as you 
know, has been made to hold the Arabs under Omar 
responsible for this act of vandalism, but it is 
lamentably true that the great Christian Emperor, 
who in all other respects seemed a paragon of vir- 
tue and enlightenment, was the real author. It was 
not only as an emporium of commerce and a treas- 
ure-house of wealth that Alexandria was so long 
known to fame, but the city was equally distin- 
guished as a seat of literature and science. Nearly 
all that is known of ancient literature is due to 
the Alexandrian school, and but for the destruc- 
tion of the museum and the Serapion the debt of 
obligation in this regard would have been immeas- 
urably greater. 


The modern city of Alexandria stands upon the 
ruins of the great metropolis which Alexander 
founded and Ptolemy embellished. Under the in- 
spiration of Mehemet Ali a ad his successors — es- 
pecially Ismail Pasha — it had arisen from its ashes, 
^nd was fast becoming again a center of commerce 
and a home of wealth and luxury. They had 
adorned it with palaces, beautified it with gardens 
and streetswhich vied with those of Paris inelegance, 
erected a modern light-house in the place of its 
ancient Pharos, given it a harbor which was one of 
the safest and most commodious possessed by any 
civilized city, and laid out in its center a public 
square filled with fountains, ornamented with shade 
trees, adorned with a statue of Mehemet Ali, and 
surrounded by magnificent public buildings. In 
an evil hour, and under the teachings of a few bad 
men, the populace attempted to avenge their 
wrongs and to give expression to their religious 
fanaticism by rising against the foreigners in their 
midst and murdering a large number of them. 
The English admiral, recognizing that his country- 
men had been the special objects of this attack, 
and that many of them had been massacred, deter- 
mined upon a scheme of vengeance, which the bad 
• faith of Arabi in working upon the batteries at 
night in contradiction to his assertions and prom- 
ises, soon furnished him with an excuse for realizing. 
The guns of the English fleet opened upon the 
city, and after a bombardment of a few hours, its 
new-born glory had departed — it was a heap of 
unsightly ruins, with devastating fires raging 
throughout its limits. 

It is a singular circumstance, but one which I 
chronicle with infinite pleasure, that the principal 
agent in extinguishing these fires and thereby pre- 
venting the complete destruction of Alexandria 


was an American — Colonel Chaille Long-Bey, the 
distinguished central African explorer. Business 
having called him to Egypt, he was residing in 
the country when Arabi raised the standard of re- 
bellion against the Khedive and his English allies^ 
and in response to a request from the State De- 
partment at Washington, he took charge of the 
consulate at Alexandria, and sought refuge on an 
American man-of-war during the progress of the 
bombardment. Ever true to his trust, and with 
the same heroic courage which had distinguished 
him in other fields, he was among the first to landy 
and, aided by a detachment of United States ma- 
rines, was foremost and most successful in arrest- 
ing the devastating flames. Admiral Nicholson — 
the officer in command of the American fleet then 
stationed in Egyptian waters — remarked to me that 
the '^ real hero of Alexandria was Colonel Long," 
and I have seen numerous letters from the owners 
of property around the ''great square" — notably 
from the oflicials of the English church which is 
located there — thanking him in glowing and grate- 
ful terms for his brave efl'orts in their behalf. 

A proposition was made in Congress to honor 
him with a vote of thanks, but it died in the hands 
of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and besides 
a formal letter from the State Department, there 
has been no recognition of his services. And yet 
he remained at a post which had been deserted be- 
cause of its danger ; he preserved the consulate 
and its archives from destruction ; he assisted in 
the embarkation, and, consequently in the preser- 
vation of many helpless people ; and it was mainly 
by his courage, enterprise and intelligence that 
Alexandria was saved from utter destruction. 
Republics have never been accused of the virtue of 
gratitude, you know, and it is usually the appre- 


ciation of coming favors that inspires this senti- 
ment under the most favorable circumstances. I 
hope to see the day, however, wlien my gallant 
and deserving friend will return to Egypt as the 
representative of his country, for no man is more 
deserving the honor, or none would fill the office 
of consul-general with greater credit to himself and 
honor to his native land. Inshallah! 

With this city is associated the most remarkable 
woman in history. The beauty and fascination of 
Cleopatra have been the theme of the historian and 
the poet for centuries, and yet its interest never 
seems to abate. As infamous as was her character, 
and as detestable as were her crimes, there is a 
halo of romance surrounding this woman which 
none fail to recognize and appreciate. The daugh- 
ter of one of the Ptolemys and the sister and wife 
of another, possessing marvelous beauty and con- 
summate cunning, she played for thrones or human 
hearts with a recklessness unknown before or since 
in history. Her intrigue with Antony — that won- 
derful compound of virtues and vices, and, indeed, 
of all conceivable extremes — was the great sensa- 
tion of the period, and the story has come through 
the circling ages bereft of none of its piquancj" and 
fascination. Fired with indignation because of her 
devotion to the cause of Brutus^ the old hero sum- 
moned her to his presence that he might condemn 
and punish her. She responded but only to play 
the role of a sorceress and a conqueror — to bind the 
the soul of the great triumvir to the chariot wheels 
of her matchless beauty, and to drag him to his 
humiliation and his death. Arrayed in gorgeous 
apparel, with her transcendent charms displayed 
to the greatest advantage, her keen wit whetted to 
the sharpest edge, her subtle character attuned to 
the highest pitch of fineness, the mistress of every 


-art and guile and of the most consummate co- 
quetry, she dazzled and crazed the but too suscep- 
tible soldier at the first glance. From that time 
forth he became her obsequious slave, her enrap- 
tured worshiper, her pliant instrument. Forget- 
ting his obligation to his wife, his allegiance to his 
country, his duty as a soldier, and his honor as a 
man, he found his consummation of pleasure in 
basking in her smiles — his dream of heaven in 
lingering in her arms. Because of her the friendly 
Augutus became the avenger of a sister's wrongs ; 
the " approving senate " was transformed into the 
instrument of a country's indignation ; the waves 
of Actium were made the ministers of an adverse 
destiny ; and a sword hallowed by its consecration 
to the cause of friendship and to the interests of 
justice was converted into the implement of a sui- 
cide^s desperation. She proved, in fact, the bane 
of his ambition, the blight of his pride, the grave 
of his glory, and the curse of his existence. The 
story has at least served one good purpose — it has 
furnished the theme for some of the most beautiful 
verses that have been written in any language. 
The lines produced in this connection by General 
Lytel, one of the most lamented victims of our fate 
war, possess a pathos and a rhythm which have 
made them ''household words" throughout the 
United States, and yet, notwithstanding their 
familiarity, I cannot resist the temptation to re- 
produce them here ; it is impossible to tire of read- 
ing them : 


I am dying, Egypt, dying, 
Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast, 

And the dark, Plutonian shadows 
Gather on the evening blast ; 


Let thy arms, O Queen I support me ; 

Hush thy sobs and bow thine ear ; 
Harken to the great heart-secrets 

Thou, and thou alone, must hear. 

Though my scarred and veteran legions 

Bear their eagles high no more, 
And my wrecked and scattered galleys 

Strew dark Actium's fatal shore ; 
Though no glittering guards surround me. 

Prompt to do their master's will, 
I must perish like a Roman — 

Die the great Triumvir still. 

Let not Caesar's servile minions 

Mock the lion thus laid low ; 
' Twas no foeman's hand that slew him, 

' Twas his own that struck the blow. 
Here, then, pillowed on thy bosom, 

Ere his star fades cjuite away. 
Him who, drunk with thy caresses, 

Madly threw a world away ! 

Should the base, plebeian rabble 

Dare assail my fame at Rome, 
Where the noble spouse, Octavia, 

Weeps within her widowed home ; 
Seek her ; say the gods have told me, 

Altars, augurs, circling wings. 
That her blood, ^ith mine commingling. 

Yet shall mount the throne of kings. 

And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian ! 

Glorious sorceress of the Xile ! 
Light the path to Stygian horrors 

With the splendor of thy smile. 
Give to Caesar crowns and arches, 

Let his brow the laurel twine ; 
I can scorn the Senate's triumphs. 

Triumphing in love like thine. 

I am dying, Egypt, dying. 

Hark ! the insulting foeman's cry. 
They are coming — quick, my falchion I 

Let me front them ere I die. 
Ah ! no more amid the battle 

Shall my heart exulting swell. 
Isis and Osiris guard thee, 

Cleopatra ! Rome ! Farewell ! 


Colonel Jenifer's quarters were immediately upon 
the sea, and in them I spent many a day talking 
of friends and kindred far away, listening to the 
breakers' roar, gazing upon the classic objects on 
every side, and thinking of the countless thousands 
— each possessing a distinct identity, and with 
hopes and passions like ourselves — who had peo- 
pled the land around us, and these had gone in 
relays of generations to that "undiscovered coun- 
try from whose bourne no traveler returns." 

There is nothing which teaches so impressively 
the lesson of human insignificance as to wander 
among the ruins of some country ''rich with the 
spoils of time," and to think of the myriads who 
have peopled it, and then have passed away for- 
ever. Egypt thus ever seemed to me a grave for 
the interment of vanity and presumption. Its 
monuments and relics proclaimed continually to 
my soul the lesson of human impotence and insig- 
nificance, and I felt always as if I bore the same 
relation to the human race as a grain of sand to its 
mighty desert — as a drop of the waters of the Nile 
to that grand river itself, flowing with perpetually- 
renewed currents from the equator to the sea. 

E — Said Pasha, the son of Mehemit Ali, suc- 
ceeded Abbas Pasha on the throne of Egypt. Abbas 
had been an avaricious tyrant, and as Said was 
known to be a man of kind heart and generous im- 
pulses, there were gr